I'm working in Korean Company, every worker says "들어가보겠습니다" when they are going to leave the office. In my head it is translated as "I will try to go outside". Why can't we use the more obvious words like "먼저 퇴근하겠습니다" ?


3 Answers 3


The working culture (presenteeism and hierarchical relationships) has been making all workers put it in a roundabout way. It also relates to groupism and their tendency to care too much about others. It will remain as a custom in South Korea for a long time, although some companies are trying to change the culture.

In fact, 들어가다 (to go in(to), enter) does not make clear sense. Exactly where will they enter after work? Besides, that 보다 means "to try," so they are trying to do something. Although the context suggests that they are trying to go home or somewhere else, you may not understand the reason. Well, they think their leaving would offend others who are still working. Isn't it ridiculous to be sorry about their leaving earlier?


As shown in the question liked by others, "들어가다/오다" is commonly used to "go back to one's home". "보다" is not a literal "try" - it is also commonly used to make the expression polite, or maybe to indicate that the action is not that important. E.g.,

제가 그 책 읽어봤는데 별로였어요. = I read the book, but it was so-so.

어제 공원에 가봤더니 사람이 많더라. = I went to the park yesterday and it was crowded.

배고픈데 치킨이나 시켜 볼까? = I'm hungry, shall we order chicken?

So, "들어가보겠습니다" basically says "I'm going home." in a somewhat polite way.

As for "why", I don't think anybody will object to you saying "먼저 퇴근하겠습니다." In fact I'm pretty sure I've seen people saying that. But that doesn't roll off the tip of the tongue as nicely.

  • Also, "I'll (try to) go outside" will be "나가보겠습니다".
  • 1
    I could be wrong, but I think 보다 as in 들어가 보겠습니다 shows a slight diffidence rather than politeness because we can just say 먼저 들어가겠습니다 when we do not want to hesitate. For "먼저 퇴근하겠습니다," we can use it to peers but not to strict superiors.
    – Klmo
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 20:28
  • Well, some people in Korea are offended by everything, but I find it hard to believe that a reasonable person will be offended by "먼저 퇴근하겠습니다". But then again, I spent only several years in an ordinary Korean workplace, so my perception might be off.
    – jick
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 20:23

보다 All is impossible except one.

1) Because we are in New York, so tomorrow, how about California ? 뉴욕에 왔으니 캘리포니아 가보는 것은 어때 ?

No, I will stay. 난 됐어. 여기서 굿이나 보고 떡이나 먹으께(here, I will see the show and if I have an energy to spare, then I will eat Korean cake = I will enjoy things that I can do now)

2) 들어가 보겠습니다. To me, going to home is easy, but the others is almost impossible.

@ 밥먹겠습니다 = I will eat meal. 밥이나 먹겠습니다 = Because I can do nothing now, I will eat a meal.

That is, I think that 들어가 보겠습니다 means poorness of ability, compared to 들어가겠습니다. Accordingly, it is a modesty so that it is polite.

  • 1
    Looking at other comment, they say 보다 is used for polite expression, is this true? Or is it just "All is impossible except one"?
    – gameon67
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 2:32

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