In the advanced Korean book that I am studying, there is a sentence that goes like this:

취업 성공 여부를 결정하는 면접 평가에서 과연 면접관들은 지원자의 어떤 점을 보는 것일까?

In this sentence, the author uses the 는 것 structure in the phrase 보는 것. What is the difference between this sentence and "취업 성공 여부를 결정하는 면접 평가에서 과연 면접관들은 지원자의 어떤 점을 볼까?"?

1 Answer 1


보는 것일까? and 볼까? have about the same meaning.

Any slight difference there might be has to do with nuance. -(ㄴ/은/는) 것 makes the idea more indirect and objective, or render it a reported speech form if it happens to be -다는 것 or -라는 것. It can also make the phrase more dramatic or thoughtful, and as a result it might sound better (although the difference is not so big).

It might help to understand the case where -는 것 cannot be omitted.

* 결론은 이 일은 그리 어렵지 않다는 것이다 = The point is that this job is not so difficult.  
* 제 의도는 힘 닿는 한 돕겠다는 거예요 = My intention is to help you/them as much as I can.

(Subject 결론/의도 represents a full idea (sentence), and -는 것 embeds it as a sub-clause)

In contrast, here are examples where the construct is not essential.

* 돌아보니 너무 바쁘게만 살아왔던 것이다 = 바쁘게만 살아왔다.
* 모든 행동에는 책임이 따르는 것이다 = 책임이 따른다.

(것이다 here only adds a slight nuance of self-reflective thoughts, so it is optional)

[EDIT] For an example similar to yours, consider

  • 동생은 왜 저렇게 서두르는 것일까? == 동생은 왜 저렇게 서두를까?
  • Why is it that my brother's in such a hurry? == Why is my brother in such a hurry?

In both languages the first one is a complex sentence that sub-clauses the fact as if looking at it as an independent thing, whereas the second one states it directly. There is no meaningful difference though.


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