는 / ㄴ답시고 – “With the intention…” “Thinking that…” “Just because…”
There are hard-to-translate Korean grammar and this definitely belongs to that category. The 답시고 grammar pattern is, speaking in very general terms, used to express reason, grounds or intent. This is stated in the first clause and the result in the second clause. But the result wasn’t intended or unsatisfactory which the speaker somewhat sarcastically or mockingly points out by the use of this grammar.
AVST +는 / ㄴ(present) | 었/았/였(past) | 겠 (future)+답시고…
N + (이)랍시고… If the noun ends with a consonant, you use -이 and if it ends with a vowel, you just use 랍시고.
This is most likely what you will learn in school so if this might be what you want to focus on learning even though I would recommend reading the entire article. In this usage, the person intends to do something in the first clause but ends up failing or even making it worse, which is sarcastically or ironically pointed out.
Note that for this usage, you can only use Action Verbs. If the verb ends with a consonant, you use -는 and if it ends with a vowel, you use -ㄴ.
- 엄마가 내 방을 청소를 한답시고 내 핸드폰을 버렸어. “My mom was going to clean my room but ended up throwing away my phone.”
The subject (mom) intends to clean the room in the first clause, but instead (답시고) she ended up throwing away my phone (second clause). You can view the 답시고 grammar as something that contrasts too facts (intent and unsatisfactory result). This is the main usage of this grammar pattern and as stated above, if you use it with anything else than an action verb, the meaning will change a bit.
- 케이크를 만들겠답시고 만들어봤는데 못했어요. “I thought I could make a cake, but I tried and it turned out that I couldn’t.”
Here, the 겠 part expresses assumption. The speaker thought he would be able to make a cake.
This usage has a slightly different meaning from the first one but the ironic subtext is still there. Whatever happens, or is claimed to be the case (remember – this is reported speech), in the first clause is proven inadequate or unsatisfactory in the second clause by contrasting the two.
- 머리가 좋답시고 TV를 켰는데 못켰어. I’m really smart, but when I turned on the TV, I couldn’t do it.
Here it sounds more natural if both clauses are either negative or positive. So you would have to make the second clause positive and then connect the negative result. For example:
- 머리가 좋답시고 TV를 못켰어. (X)
- 머리가 좋답시고 TV를 켰는데 못켰어. (O)
- 요새는 바쁘답시고 책을 많이 못 읽는다. I’m busy these days so I can’t really read a lot of books. Remember in the first paragraph where I said that it can also express reason or grounds? Here, 바쁘다 is the reason to the second clause.
In the case of (이)랍시고, you could translate the first clause to something like “This is supposed to be a [N]?” “You call this a [N]?” or “Pretending to be [N].”
- 생일선물이랍시고 오래된 케이크를 주었다. I gave an old cake and called it a birthday present.
In this case, the first clause is the reason for the result or action in the second clause. But the result or action is out of proportion in comparison to the reason or grounds, which is what the speaker disapproves of.
- 저보다 나이가 많답시고 가르치는 식으로 말하는 놈이에요. He’s the type of person who speaks to me like he’s trying to teach me something just because he’s older than me.
Here, you follow the pattern “AVST1 +는 / ㄴ답시고… AVST1 았는데/었는데/였는데…” to express one’s own action with modesty. For example
- 난 정말 열심히 공부한답시고 했는데 잘 된지 모르겠다. – I studied really hard, but I don’t know if it went well.
Daunting? I agree! But focus on usage 1 to begin with, since that’s what most textbooks (and as a result TESTS) are most likely to focus on. Also, it might be kind of hard to see, but these usages all have some things in common, which is the unsatisfying result or the disapproval as well as the contrast between the clauses.
By Kimchi Cloud
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