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In the combination "verb + 보다" (= try doing), is there supposed to be a space between the two words or not?

Example: 우리 한 번 가 보자! Let's go one time! (lit. Let's try going one time!)

4

It is technically correct to include the space. However, it is extremely common (technically incorrect but officially allowed) to omit the space. In other words, both ways are grammatically correct. Thus, you may use either "우리 한번 가 보자!" or "우리 한번 가보자!"


Usage Note

한 번 is correct when 두 번, 세 번, 네 번, and other similar counting phrases can be used in place of it; otherwise, 한번 is correct. The following are grammatically correct examples:

  • 우리 한 번 더 가 보자! (우리 한 번 더 가보자!)
  • 우리 한 번만 가 보자! (우리 한 번만 가보자!)
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3

Space between the main and the auxiliary

“보다” here is what’s called an “auxiliary verb.” The standard considers spacing before auxiliary verbs/adjectives (“보조 동사”/“보조 형용사”) correct and thus you should, but it’s not wrong not to space it (except for some that you always need to space).

한글 맞춤법 제5 장 (‘띄어쓰기’) 제3 절 (‘보조 용언’) 제47 항

Hangul orthography, Chapter 5 (“Spacing”), §3 (“Auxiliary verbs and adjectives”), Clause 47:

보조 용언은 띄어 씀을 원칙으로 하되, 경우에 따라 붙여 씀도 허용한다.

It should always be spaced before auxiliary verbs and adjectives; however, without a space may it also be accepted in some cases.

(And the following is a bunch of examples and exceptions, so you best just space it.)

……unless it’s in the dictionary as a single word

But here’s the tricky part. Some constructions do look like a main verb followed by an auxiliary, and turn out are single compound words. Like “살펴보다.” Then you never space it. You don’t split a word up into two.

Hold on, how do you know whether it’s a single word or not? Yea, that’s the problem. No good ways but to look up the dictionary every time you get a doubt. Being native doesn’t help at this at all.

Oh, and by “the dictionary,” I mean “Standard Korean Language Dictionary.” Ditch the other. To be standard.

……which means exactly what you wanted to mean.

If you have found such a word in the dict, the next step to do is double-check if it has the right meaning.

Say you want to say “to try doing (something),” or “to give (something) a try” in Korean. It’s “해 보다.” And you see the word “해보다” in the dictionary. Alright, now then, should you not space it? Yes, you should.

Though “해보다” is a word, it has a fairly different meaning, of “to fight against,” than “해 보다.” Good thing not many words like this are out there.


Nobody actually cares

In my experience, nobody bothers to space the right way. Only pedantic grammar pervs like me do. So to language learners: take it easy.

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