What is the reason making 3시가 안 돼요 unnatural here? However someone said that 3시가 안 될 것 같아요 is natural in that case.

미영 씨, 우리 내일 3시에 백화점 앞에서 만나기로 했찮아요.
그런데 (3시가 안 돼요). 내일 아르바이트가 3시에 끝나거든요.

1 Answer 1


세 시가 안 돼요 means 시간이 세 시가 안 돼요 (which may be translated as "It will definitely not be 3 a.m. / p.m. yet") because 되다 usually requires specifying the complement and the complement for 되다 is indicated by one of the markers 가 and 이. In 세 시가 안 돼요, 시간이 is the subject and 세 시가 is the complement, so this sentence literally means "Time does not become 3 a.m. / p.m." For the same reason, 3시 안 될 것 같아요 also sounds unnatural there, since it can be translated as "(I think) It will not be 3 a.m. / p.m. yet." What you did in your question is to make 세 시가 the complement for this normal (or non-idiomatic) use of 되다 (which means "어떤 때나 시기, 상태에 이르다" and requires specifying the complement).

Regarding your question, what you need to use is the idiom 시간이 되다 (which is absent in the standard dictionary). It means the same as 시간이 나다, and this 나다 (used with the subject 시간) means 시간 여유가 생기다 (to have (some) time to do something). You can modify 시간 with other words (For example, "만날 시간이 돼요."); however, you cannot add a complement to this idiom. Therefore, if you wish to use both 세 시 and the idiom, you can use one of these sentences:

  • (저는) 세 시에 (시간이) 안 돼요.

  • (저는) 세 시엔 (시간이) 안 돼요.

  • (저는) 세 시에는 (시간이) 안 돼요.

  • (저는) 세 시는 (시간이) 안 돼요.

as it is correct to say "At 3 a.m. / p.m., I have some time to do something." This 세 시(에) is an adverbial, "at 3 a.m. / p.m." The words in the parentheses can be omitted (I usually omit them). If you are going to mention another time, 세 시엔, 세 시에는, or 세 시는 is better to use than 세 시에.

Other examples for the normal use of 되다 with the word 시간:

  • 시간이 (아직) 세 시가 안 됐어요. ("It is not 3 a.m. / p.m. yet"; literally, "Time has not become 3 yet.")
  • (시간이) 세 시가 되기 전에 집에 가라. ("Go home before 3"; literally, "Go home before time becomes 3.")
  • 잘 시간이 됐어요. ("It is time to sleep"; literally, "Time has become time to sleep.")
  • The answer is good. I'm curious if there's a reason that you don't use 가 with 세 시.
    – emnha
    Mar 7, 2020 at 6:58
  • what does 되다 mean in those 4 examples you gave? Also you put 저는 and 시간이 in parentheses. Are they natural if we include those words in parentheses? (저는) 세 시에 (시간이) 안 돼요.
    – emnha
    Mar 8, 2020 at 16:16
  • I wonder why dictionaries don't list it as it's an idiom. Could you give a dictionary definition of 되다 in 시간이 되다?
    – emnha
    Mar 8, 2020 at 16:21
  • @anhnha I guess you misread some lines before those examples, so I have edited my answer again. As for the idiom, it is generally of no use to try to figure out what each word means. // You said you wonder why dictionaries do not have it as an idiom, but I believe that it is impossible and also excessive to include every phrase people use. I hope you find out the reason you can accept.
    – Klmo
    Mar 9, 2020 at 3:50
  • I read all of them several times. I guessed that you meant 되다 = 나다 in that case 시간이 되다 . However, I couldn't find any definition of 되다 like that in dictionary.
    – emnha
    Mar 9, 2020 at 9:43

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