I’ve been very interested in figuring out how natives understand these words. How being by what way are they conceptually understood and used. That is to say, when reading—or saying—something like 그런데 or 그럼 or 그렇지만, and so on. What is the conceptual meaning being conveyed through the word. I understand how to translate these words as things like however, when, if, &c. but I'm interested in figuring out how a Korean relying solely on their native language intuition understands these words.

1 Answer 1


You already know the meaning of that words, so wrote just some of the feelings.


When someone says something, If I don't agree about that or I have different opinion, we use 그런데. To use at the beginning of a speech is to present any strong opposition. You should be careful when using it to someone above you.

A: I really love you. (나는 너를 정말 사랑해)
B: So why did you cheat on me? (그런데 왜 나를 속인거야?)

A: I knew I'd fail the exam. (나는 내가 시험에 탈락할 것을 알고있었다.)
B: Then why didn't you study? (그런데/그럼 왜 공부 안했어?)
그런데 -> So / Then

Or to respect the other person's feelings, after giving an opinion that the other person can relate to, we use 그런데 before start to say my opnion.

I understand you. (나는 너를 이해한다.)
That's what I do sometimes. (나도 가끔 그렇게 행동한다.)
But the behavior is really bad. (그런데 그 행동은 정말 기분이 나쁘다.)
그런데 -> But

Or for any reversal or surprise (in a good sense), it's used later in the sentence.

He knew this road was dangerous. (그는 이 길이 위험하다는 것을 알고있었다.)
So I walked as fast as I could. (그래서 최대한 빨리 걸었다.)
I informed my friend of the location by cell phone. (핸드폰으로 친구에게 위치를 알렸다.)
Nevertheless, he had an accident.(그런데 사고를 당하였다.)
그런데 -> Nevertheless

Or It's used to make excuses. "하지만" seems to be an objective expression, but "그런데" feels more unfair and unreasonable.

I tried really hard. (나는 정말 노력했다.)
But I failed. (그런데/하지만 실패했다.)
그런데 -> But

In Korean books on speech, there are some explanations that if you use 'but' a lot in conversation, you can be seen as a negative person. (Of course, it depends on the way an individual speaks.)


It's an expression that you agree with the other person, but it can be interpreted differently depending on how you speak.

If used alone, it means consent.

A: Do you like puppy? (강아지 좋아해?)
B: Sure!! (그럼!!)
그럼 -> Sure

You may sympathize with the other person's words, but you may not sympathize with the whole opinion.

A: I knew I'd fail the exam. (나는 내가 시험에 탈락할 것을 알고있었다.)
B: Then you should have studied. (그럼 공부를 했어야지.)
그럼 -> Then

Then I hope it helps!! (그럼 이 글이 도움이 되기를 바랍니다!!)

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