I have seen 무엇이 어찌한다 translated as "something does something", and 무엇이 어떠하다 translated as "something is some way". However, I have also read that 어찌하다 is another form of 어떡하다 - which looks to me very similar to 어떠하다.

Are '어찌하다', '어떠하다' and '어떡하다' all correct forms? Are any of them equivalent?

  • Wouldn't it better if you could list a few example sentences where the three words are used? Basically, they (probably except for 어떡하다) are not broadly used.
    – user7
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 9:31
  • 어떡하다 is a shortened form of 어떻게 하다
    – user237
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 9:40
  • @Rathony I suppose if i had the knowledge to come up with good representative examples, I wouldn't be asking the question! I found the two examples I did give in some old notes, and the words do seem to exist - krdic.naver.com/small_detail.nhn?docid=26011101, krdic.naver.com/detail.nhn?docid=26162201. However, if the italki answer I linked to is correct, maybe my examples aren't. Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 9:50

2 Answers 2


어찌하다(어쩌다 in short) is a placeholder for a verb. 어떠하다(어떻다 in short, 어때 when conjugated with 아/어) is a placeholder for an adjective. 어떡하다 is from 어떻게 하다, which is short for 어떠하게 하다. As you can see, 어떠하게 is the adverb form of 어떠하다. So 어떻게 is a placeholder for an adverb.

The "placeholder" I mentioned can have two usages. First is as interrogative words, like in English what, when, where, who, whom, why, and how. Second usage is to use it like a placeholder when you don't want to talk about it.

For example, the first usage:

걔가 알기라도 하면 어쩔래? What are you going to do if he finds out?

(< 어쩌- + -ㄹ래, =어찌할래)

직원들은 다 어때요? How is all the staff members?

(< 어떻- + -어 + 요, =어떠하여요)

어떻게 해야[어떡해야] 밥 잘한다고 소문이 날까? How can I get known that I cook well?

The second usage:

어쩔 수 없다. It can't be helped.

(< 어쩌- + -ㄹ, =어찌할)

어찌하다 보니 이렇게 됐어. One thing led to another, and here I am.

(< 어찌하- + -다가, =어찌하다가)

어떠한 경우에도 이건 막아야 한다. This should be prevented in any circumstances

(< 어떠하- + -ㄴ)

어떤 사람 some person

(< 어떻- + -ㄴ, =어떠한)

어떻게든 일을 끝마쳐야 한다. I have to finish this work, no matter how.

(< 어떻- + -게 + 든, =어떠하게든)


어떠하다 is adjective(형용사) and written 어떻다 in short. 어떡하다 = 어떻게 하다 = 어떠하게 하다, where 어떠하다 is in the form of adverb. 어찌하다 and 어떻게 하다 are verbs with the same meaning, although there are preferences over each other depending on the case.

  • Can you write some examples sentences where the words are used? How are they used in day-to-day conversation?
    – user7
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 13:41

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