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동물에 대한 책을 샀어요. – I bought a book about animals

전쟁에 관한 책 – a book about war.

From these examples, these two constructions seem to have similar meanings; are they exactly the same? If not, when can one be used that the other can't?

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They are used interchangeably in conversations, but they have slightly different meanings.

When one wishes to express subjective attitude or opinion about a 대상(對象 - object/subject/topic), ~에 대한 is used to designate the 대상 in question.

~에 관한 is used to express a purely objective view about the 대상 in question.

The word 대하다 has several usage:

  • To express physical proximity regarding the object.
  • To express the attitude regarding the object.
  • To designate the 대상 in a conversation.

The word 관하다 is used to designate the 대상 of one's speech or thought.

Again, they are used interchangeably; ~에 대한 just has more diverse meanings.

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  • I've heard that 관하다 has more of a written/formal feel to it...is that true? – B. Alvn Jan 12 '17 at 14:05
  • @B.Alvn One might see the connection between expressing an objective view about the subject and formally expressing a view about the subject. Certainly, for research papers, expressing an objective viewpoint is important. I'm not exactly sure, though. – Phonics The Hedgehog Jan 14 '17 at 0:35

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