-기 나름이다 – “it all depends on how…”
Koreans use this grammar to express that the result will vary depending on how an action is done or how an event plays out. It’s usually used as an ending to a sentence as it only have one clause, but can of course be conjugated to connect two sentences.
Only AVST can be used, but if you remove -기, nouns can also be used.
- 모든일은 생각하기 나름이에요 – Everything depends on how you think about it.
- 성공은 마음먹기 나름입니다 – Success depends on how you look at things (what you set your mind on).
- 결과는 어떻게 하기 나름이다 – The result depends on how you do it.
- 좋든지 나쁘든지 사람 나름이지 – Wether it’s bad or not all depends on the person.
You might see a resemblance here with -에 달려 있다. Well, they are pretty much identical in meaning. The difference is that this grammar structure can only be used with AVST or nouns (if you remove -기). And there’s also a tiny, tiny difference in nuance between the two but they are in almost all cases interchangeble. The difference in nuance is hard to describe and you’ll most likely have to read, and listen to, a lot of Korean before you can fully grasp it, but -기 나름이다 has a stronger implication that it’s up to the subject and that really everything in question will depend on the subject’s action. For comparison, let’s look at an example:
- 생각하기에 달려 있어 – It depends on how you think/on the thinking
- 생각하기 나름이야 – It depends on the thinking of each individual
Again, they are pretty much identical so it’s not something you’d have to worry about getting wrong. Both the 달려 있다 and -기 나름이다 grammar structures can be used both in writing and conversation as well. I’d rank -에 달려 있다 as somewhat more important to know, so if you know neither grammar, you should probably go for that one first.
If you want to hear a good example of this grammar structure in use, check out this old Samsung commercial! The audio quality is not very good, though.
By Kimchi Cloud
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