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I found out there are two similar words that mean "fall into" or "drowned". Both 빠져들다 and 빠지다 mean it, although in my dictionary there is no entry for 빠져들다 and I only saw it online.

But I don't understand what is the difference, if any, between these two words. Is there any difference and if there is, what is it?

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빠지다 has a more general meaning; it can mean 'fall into', it can also mean 'fall out / come out'; E.g.:

못이 빠졌다. (The nail came out)

빠져들다 is 빠지다 with the ending 들다, which carries the meaning of 'entering, going into'; adding it to 빠지다 emphasizes the 'into' part of 'falling into'.

들다 is one of several verbs that are commonly added to verbs to give a directional or different meaning:

  • 들다: go into, enter (e.g. 날아들다, fly into)
  • 들이다: pull in, take in (e.g. 빨아들이다 suck in)
  • 나오다: come out of (e.g. 기어나오다 crawl out)
  • 내다: take out of, away (e.g. 들어내다 take out; 빨아내다, suck out, 골라내다 pick out, choose from)
  • 넣다: put into (e.g. 써놓다 write in, 불어넣다 breathe into)
  • 오르다: go up (날아오르다 fly up, 끌어올리다 drag up)
  • 올리다: raise, make go up (e.g. 감아올리다 wind up)
  • 내리다: go down, lower (e.g. 끌어내리다 pull down, 기어내리다 climb down)

Since 빠지다 can already mean fall into (not just fall), we don't need to add the -들다 ending, but adding it certainly emphasizes the 'into' part.

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I would say that the compound 빠져들다 is the standard abstraction of 빠져 들다 (or 빠져서 들다). For 빠져 들다, 빠지다 ("to fall into") indicates how the subject does the action 들다 ("to get in(to)"). In 빠져들다, however, 빠지다 and 들다 do not have their entire meanings because nothing actually moves: Unlike 빠져 들다, there is no physical or real movement for 빠져들다.

Both 빠지다 and 들다 have the word "into" in their English meanings although they are just verbs, which could make you think that 들다 is unnecessary. But, when two words used together have very similar meanings, you should think of such use as emphasis as gaeguri mentioned.

I will give you some examples for 빠지다, 빠져 들다, and 빠져들다:

  • 신발이 눈 속에 빠져 들었다 (not 빠져들었다 because 신발 is moved).
  • 신발이 눈 속에 빠졌다.
  • 나는 잠에 빠져들었다 (not 빠져 들었다).
  • 나는 잠에 빠졌다.
  • 우리는 그렇게 사랑에 빠져들었다 (not 빠져 들었다).
  • 우리는 그렇게 사랑에 빠졌다.

There are a lot of compounds that can be understood in a similar way, but they may be abstraction of a phrase or, more generally, acceptance of a commonly used phrase as a compound without spacing:

  • 뛰어들다 (뛰다 (to run, jump, ...))
  • 흘러들다 (흐르다 (to flow))
  • 날아들다 (날다 (to fly))
  • 모여들다 (모이다 (to gather))
  • 스며들다 (스미다 (to seep))
  • 줄어들다 (줄다 (to decrease))
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빠져들다 more poetic expression of 빠지다.

빠져들다 mean "deep into"

그대에게 빠지다.(x) awkward expression

그대에게 빠져들다.(o) lyrics or poetry

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