I actually don't use 네이버 국어사전 usually, but using another dictionary, as in here: http://dict.hjenglish.com/kr/

Here, the dependent noun 바 was explained like this:

  1. Matter (I think similar to 일)(Which exists in the form of 'ㄴ/은/는/ㄹ/을 바')


다 아는 바와 같이 --> As all knows, ...
네가 알 바가 아니다. --> Not the matters that you should know.
어찌 할 바를 모르다 --> No idea how one should do
  1. Situation (A and B are bad, but I would rather choose B)


할 말 못하고 살 바에는 차라리 죽는 게 낫지. 
--> Being unable to speak even one word, I would rather die.
어차피 쓰지 못할 바에는 버리는 게 낫다. 
--> Being unable to use, it would be better to throw it away.
  1. To emphasize the speaker's stance (Exists in the form of '는 바이다')


오인은 잘못을 시인하는 바이다. --> I WILL admit my wrongs.

The second and third one are easier to understand, as revealed in the explanations and the examples. However, I am not sure how the first one should be used, and how it differs from 일.

The Naver dictionary splits the first meaning into two:

  1. 앞에서 말한 내용 그 자체나 일 따위를 나타내는 말. (The speech previously uttered itself, or speeches that show the kind of works?)


평소에 느낀 바를 말해라.
각자 맡은 바 책임을 다하라.
나라의 발전에 공헌하는 바가 크다. 
  1. (어미 ‘-을’ 뒤에 쓰여) 일의 방법이나 방도.


어찌할 바를 모르다
나아갈 바를 밝히다
눈 둘 바를 모르다.  

Naver dictionary gave me a clearer explanation, however I still could not grasp the first meaning.

For the second meaning, please clarify how 바를 모르다 can be differentiated from 줄 모르다.

Any help is much appreciated.

1 Answer 1


In the first meaning, think of 바 as equivalent to 것. It's a general noun-ifier, to make verbs behave as nouns grammatically. It can be translated into English as "what" or "the thing which". If I literally translate the first examples, it'll be more clear to you:

123 바와4 같이5 --> Like5 the thing4 which3 all1 knows2, 3
네가123 바가4 아니다5. --> It's not5 the thing4 which3 you1 should know2. = It's not what you should know.

This one is a little different, since it can't be translated into English word-by-word.

어찌할 바를 모르다 --> Do not know how one should behave.

Explanation: You want to say that you don't know "how one should behave (=어찌하다)", but unlike English, where "how-clause"s are treated like a noun and thus become an object of the sentence, Korean 어찌 is just an adverb and can't be used like "*어찌하를 모르다" or something like this. You need a nounifier, to take the "how-clause" as an object for the predicate 모르다. 바 comes here. By saying "어찌할 바", it's effectively a noun and can be safely taken as an object.

어찌할 바를 모르다 and 어찌할 줄(을) 모르다 are used interchangeably.

  • 1
    To give '것'-substituted examples, 다 아는 것과 같이;네가 알 것이 아니다; 어찌할 것을 모르겠다(어찌할지 suits better here); 할 말 못하고 사는 '것' 보다는 차라리 죽는 '것'이 낫지; 어차피 쓰지 못한 '것'(situation)이면 버리는 '것'이 낫다. - see that the 'rather' sentences are symmetric. ; (내가 지금 하고 있는 일은) 잘못을 시인하는 것이다; 평소에 느낀 것을 말하라; 각자 맡은 것을(책임을) 다하라; 나라의 발전에 공헌한 것이 크다; 어찌할 것을 모르다 (again, 지 is better) and so on.... So, the first and second usages can be derived from each other naturally. Aug 15, 2016 at 17:46

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