-ㄹ 세라 Grammar Lesson “i was afraid that…”

-ㄹ 세라 Grammar Lesson "i was afraid that..."

-ㄹ 세라 “i was afraid that…” “in fear of…” “lest”

In this grammar,  the speaker expresses a fear that something will happen in the first clause, and uses that as a reason for whatever happens in the following clause.  If you are familiar with -을 / ㄹ까 봐  you will most likely have no difficulties with the -을 / ㄹ 세라  grammar structure as the two carry the same meaning and thus can be used interchangeably.

Usage

  • VST/았/었/였+ 을 / ㄹ 세라…
  • Both AVST and DVST can be used, as well as the past tense 았/었/였.
  • In the case of past tense, a concern is expressed that something has already happened, but it’s not clear whether or not it happened.

A Closer Look

While -ㄹ 세라 and -ㄹ까 봐 are used to express the same meaning, they have a very important difference. You’ll be using, and hearing, -ㄹ까 봐 almost exclusively. -ㄹ 세라 is a somewhat dated and old-fashioned grammar. So why bother learning it? Because you will still encounter it in books and probably on advanced tests in Korean. So while it’s old fashioned, please note that it still has a purpose so if your goal is to master the Korean language, you should learn this grammar as well.

Translated to English, you’ll use this expression if you want to say things like “I feared that…” “in fear of…so…” or “lest” As explained above, the first/preceding clause declares the reason for the action taken in the second/following clause. So in most cases, the action in the second clause is taken to try and avoid whatever is feared to happen in the first clause.

Examples

아플 세라 약을 먹기로 하였다. 

= In fear that I would get sick, I decided to take the medicine.

 

저를 잊어버릴 세라 편지를 써 주었습니다.

= In fear that she would forget me, I wrote her a letter.

Final Words

You’ll sometimes see the word  행여 used with this grammar and so it might be good to know that it means “possibly,” by some chance.”

In case something is unclear, you are confused or maybe spotted an error – whatever it is, please let us know by posting a comment below!

By Kimchi Cloud

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