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I understand this means "okay. I got it". But is this phrase actually an impolite way of saying so? Like when if you are annoyed or frustration with someone telling you the same thing over and over.

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Yes, your understanding is correct.

알았으니까(요) sounds like saying "Okay, I got it (so let's leave it at that)", not wanting to dwell on the subject anymore. It is often used when you want to dismiss something, like when you're annoyed by what the other person said.

Its base form 알았다 (past tense of 알다, to know) tends to have this implication, because the past tense in this case actually signifies a completion and its resultant state (like present perfect in English), which in this case stresses that the person has understood it and therefore there's no more to talk about it.

If you want to say "I understand" in a more polite way, 알겠습니다 (from 알겠다) is the better choice. 겠 is similar to the modal verbs "could" or "might", but here it gives the sense of "I really seem to grasp it now" in contrast to 알았어's "I already got it". A lot depends on the tone of speech too though.

Finally, the most polite way would be 잘 알겠습니다 or 잘 알겠어요, where 잘 adds the sense of "fully / satisfactorily". Making it a full independent sentence like this instead of wrapping it in the sentence ending -니까 indicates you pay full attention/respect to the given subject, so it carries a lot more weight.

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  • Thank you so much for explaining how the tenses change the tone. So, in a way, the sentence I provided can be translated to English as "Ok. I get it already"? Is that accurate?
    – Dinu M
    Apr 15, 2023 at 17:54
  • Yes, that is correct, but note that what you said corresponds to 알았어. 알았으니까 is used when you say it with another thing, like 알았으니까 그만해 (I already got it so stop it), for example. -으니까 is like "because ..." or "so ...", with another thing (main clause) following it.
    – Tony
    Apr 15, 2023 at 23:35
  • Thanks again. So how does this sound 알았으니까...제가 생각할 시간을 좀 주세요. I am reading it as "Because I got it already, allow me some time to think". Would you say it sounds annoyed? The context was that, it wasn't something the speaker liked to hear, but they are talking to someone more senior.
    – Dinu M
    Apr 16, 2023 at 0:12
  • No, it doesn't sound annoyed to me. You can say it in most situations. You can also say 알겠는데요 ... 제가 생각할 시간을 좀 주세요 which is about the same in meaning and might sound slightly more respectful.
    – Tony
    Apr 16, 2023 at 5:56
  • Thank you so much for explaining patiently. This will be my last question. Does the sentence "알았으니까...제가 생각할 시간을 좀 주세요" indicate the speaker does not want to talk about it further as compared to "알겠는데요 ... 제가 생각할 시간을 좀 주세요"? Given the presence of 알았으니까 in the former, would you say the speaker is in a haste to put an end to the conversation?
    – Dinu M
    Apr 16, 2023 at 7:27

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