i have a sentence as follow:

중국에서 들어온 유교를 한국의 상황에 맞춰 발전시킨 이이 선생이나 이황 선 생이 대표적인 예이다.

When I use Google to transte it into English, the result are as follow:

Lee Yi and Yi Hwang, who developed Confucianism from China to fit the situation in Korea, are representative examples.

In this translation, I see the action "developed (발전시키다)" leads to the action "fit (맞추다)", but in the original sentence, as I understand it, the action "맞추다" leads to the action "발전시키다" (맞춰 발전시킨 = 맞춰 + 아/어서 + 발전시킨, and structure "아/어서" represents two consecutive actions, right?). Is the Google translation above incorrect? If so, what does "맞춰 발전시킨" mean in this sentence?

1 Answer 1


맞춰 발전시키다 is 맞추어서 발전시키다 if spelled out fully, so it is an example of the -아/어서 ending. When used about two actions (not a reason which is another common use), -아/어서 may indicate the first of two consecutive actions but sometimes it just explains the means or manner of the action that follows. For example, 커피에 설탕 넣어서 드세요? is more about how they take coffee (i.e. sweetened) than a separate action step before drinking it.

Likewise, 맞춰 in 맞춰 발전시킨 means a detail about developing it and not that they did the 맞춰 part first. It means developing it so that it blends in with the local ways, so 맞추다 and 발전시키다 happen at the same time.

I think the to-infinitive in English is somewhat similar to -아/어서, in that sometimes the infinitive part may be more distinctly separate from the main clause but sometimes it is not. Here "developed Confucianism from China to fit the situation" is a case of the latter, since you can't easily develop something first and then fit it to another thing later - the two must happen in parallel.

So both the original and the translation mean developing Confucianism in harmony with the local customs. Neither is saying you do adapting and developing in two separate stages. If you think of it this way, I think the translation is correct (although it does seem to emphasize the "fitting" part more than in the original, but it's not a huge difference).

  • I have had this problem for a long time but now I understand it completely. Thank you very much
    – Thai Trinh
    Dec 16, 2021 at 3:53

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