Depending on what source you lookup, ~다가 보니까 has different definitions.

My textbook says it means "having learned something after repeated actions".

The page on How to Study Korean says:

While doing something, one realizes

However, I've now asked several Koreans about this and they seem to think a more accurate definition is "an unintentional consequence occurred because of some action".

Are all of these definitions correct? Which usage is most common in spoken Korean?

An example sentence causing me trouble:

도깨비를 계속 보다 보니까 지금 늦게 자요

Which of the interpretations below best matches the above sentence's implied meaning?

  • I once watched Goblin until very late and now my sleep schedule has changed so that I sleep late each night

  • I watched Goblin a lot tonight and I just realized it's late, but now I will sleep.

  • I didn't intend on sleeping late, but I will as a result of staying up late watching Goblin.

  • Something else?

  • 1
    The number 4 of this online dictionary page has the definition of 보다 for that particular use. Nonetheless, your example sentence sounds a bit awkward although I cannot figure out why I feel so. When I asked the National Institute of Korean Language about it, they answered, "지금 늦게 자요 sounds awkward there." Well, it could be just me.
    – Klmo
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 20:49
  • I think it can also be, "Because I watched goblins, I have hard time falling asleep" (implying that you've watched something scary. Culturally, 도깨비 is generally used to scare kids)
    – Tek
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 21:39

1 Answer 1


Oddly enough, all three definitions are correct. How you use it depends on the situation but mostly can be translated as

"as I kept doing ~thing..."

As for the multiple choice, I'd go with the third. You could just say,

"I'm still up binge watching the Goblin".

Or more properly,

"As I kept on watching the Goblin, I find myself sleeping late"
  • Do you think there a particular usage is most common, or are you saying "as I kept doing ~thing" is the most common usage?
    – buratino
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 4:21
  • Yep, my suggestion be the most common usage and the most direct translation. As for your second definition, I wouldn't say "unintentional consequence"; rather, I would lean toward a "well-deserved consequence" as a result of doing something consistently.
    – mysl
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 4:28

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