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I have come across this sentence in a sermon:

우리는 보통 ‘나 하나쯤이야’하면서 적당히 범죄하고, 적당히 말씀을 거역하며 살아갑니다

It seems like this is a coined phrase...but I've never heard it. When is it used, what is the feeling behind it, who says it and when?

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The '쯤' of '나 하나쯤이야' means 'approximate degree' meaning the same as '정도' that comes right after nouns, '-(이)야' shows the perception of looking down on someone/something or taking /someone/something slightly, and '하나' means 'one', and in this case, showing the reason of the perception, which is that the person/thing is only one'. you can make various combinations with these words and other words.

나야, 뭐, 걱정할 필요 없어. {-(이)야}

LA에서 뉴욕까지는 3000km 쯤/정도 될 걸? (쯤/정도)

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  • It can be translated into....

It makes no matter (problem) if only I do (something wrong). / There's no matter for me only. / It would be okay even if I am/do something

ex) 나 하나쯤 무단횡단해도 괜찮겠지 / 나 하나쯤 마스크 안 써도 상관없겠지 / 나 하나쯤이야 법 안 지켜도 괜찮겠지 / 나 하나쯤이야 바이러스 신경 안 쓰고 돌아다녀도 되겠지

It shows an immoral and unethical attitude and a moral hazard such as, who know? / who even cares? / only my small wrongdoing does not affect at all..

  • It can also means that I can take care of myself because I need to care only me.

ex) 나 하나쯤이야 내가 지킬 수 있지

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