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Could you describe nuances between these sentences and point out the one that sounds most natural?

  1. 화장을 하고 수영장에 가면 안 되죠.
  2. 화장을 하고 나서 수영장에 가면 안 되죠.
  3. 화장을 해서 수영장에 가면 안 되죠.
  4. 화장을 한 채 수영장에 가면 안 되죠.

Thank you for your help in advance, Damian

1 Answer 1

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This is an interesting question that can lead to questions of sentence breakdown in addition to the individual phrases.

First of all, note that #3 is the odd one out. The sentential structure is different from the others (boldface shows the subordinate clause).

1.화장을 하고 수영장에 가면 안 되죠 (This one is like #2 or #4 below)
2.화장을 하고 나서 수영장에 가면 안 되죠 = It is wrong to go to a pool after putting on makeup.
3.화장을 해서 수영장에 가면 안 되죠 = Since I have makeup on, I shouldn't go to a pool.
4.화장을 한 채 수영장에 가면 안 되죠 = It is wrong to go to a pool with your makeup still on].

-고 나서 signifies a temporal sequence of doing one thing after completing another. It is similar to -(으)ㄴ 다음에 / 뒤에 / 후에.

-(으)ㄴ 채 (and its original form -(으)ㄴ 채로) on the other hand emphasizes the given state or condition arising from the action, like "with (something) still (in some state resulting from the action)". Often the implication is that it is unusual. Example: 너무 급해서 대문도 잠그지 않은 채로 집을 나왔다 = In a big hurry, I went out not even locking the front door.

-고 is a little less clear. It can mean -고 나서 or it can be a softer, normal version of -(으)ㄴ 채(로) (i.e. no special emphasis or a sense that it's unusual). It indicates an effect of the mentioned action is continuing for the duration of the subsequent action. For instances, riding a bus to downtown ("버스를 타고 시내로 갔다") means that the speaker got on the buss (타고) and the state of being on the bus continued until you get to your destination (가다). In contrast to -고 나서's "doing A after doing B", -고 without 나서 can be "doing A under the effect of the action B", like the participle phrase "riding a bus" rather than "after getting on the bus". Their difference is small and subtle in many cases, but they nonetheless highlight different aspects.

So 화장을 하고 can be taken as 화장을 하고 나서 수영장에 가면 안 되죠, but if you get down to the deeper meaning, it is more like 화장을 한 채로. Again the two are not really that different, so it is more a question of emphasis or how explicit you want to be.

In #3, the main and sub-clause division is quite different. This is because 화장을 해서 수영장에 가면 doesn't make sense as a condition. See these two interpretations.

  1. 화장을 해서 수영장에 가면 안 되죠 = It's wrong to go to a pool because you have makeup on.
  2. 화장을 해서 (나는) 수영장에 가면 안 되죠 = 화장을 했기 때문에 (나는) ... = Since I have makeup on, I shouldn't go to a pool.

The English version of #1 is at least grammatically okay (especially if you make it "just because") but in Korean it's not a viable sentence at all (we would say 화장을 했다고 (해서) 수영장에 가면 안 되죠 to express what the English sentence says). Only the #2 interpretation makes sense. This type of ambiguity arises a lot in Korean because it treats subjects and objects more implicitly.

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