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어떻게 / 어떡해 / 어떻해 / 어떡게 ?!

Out of the four above, two are wrong! Can you guess which ones they are? ^^

If you said it was the last two, you are correct! ^^ The last one is most obviously wrong, but I’ve seen some people using the 3rd one and probably the beginners might be a little confused between the first two!

First, let’s compare between 어떡해 and 어떻해. 어떡해 is the shortened version of 어떠하게 해 which roughly translates to ‘how/what should we do’. When a phrase is shortened, the vowels generally get axed before the consonants do. So if you apply that rule, it becomes 어떠ㅎ게 해 –> 어떻게 해 –> 어떻ㄱ 해. And finally the ㅎ get axed to form 어떡해. Pretty logical right?!

And if you look at the pronunciation, you will understand why it’s not 어떻해. 어떡해 [어떠케] while 어떻해 becomes [어떠태] which is wrong.

And now for 어떻게 versus 어떡해. Although they are pronounced as [어떠케] and [어떠캐] respectively, it’s very very similar and a cause for much confusion.

어떻게 comes from 어떻다 which means something like ‘be how / how is ..’.

예) 이거 어때요?
어떻게 지내세요?

어떡해, on the other hand, comes from 어떡하다 / 어떠하게 하다, which means ‘how/what should we do’ roughly.

예) 그 사람 안 오면 어떡해?

I hope that makes things a little clearer!

NOTE: Explanations adapted from 인터넷에서 가장 많이 틀리는 한국어. It’s an awesome book and I’ve reviewed it before. It’s written entirely in Korean so I thought I’ll share some of the interesting bits here. Please go get the book if you can read Korean!

ISBN: 89-8499-594-0
Price: 9,500 Won

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    Choonit (추니트)
    18 July, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    From where can I get the book?

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      18 July, 2011 at 2:41 PM

      major bookstores in korea and probably on gmarket or other sites

  • Reply
    Felicia Adiana 펠리샤
    18 July, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    Hey , I’d like to ask if the book is totally in Korean ?
    Will there be any English translations or explanations in the book ?
    I’m interested in getting it but am only in intermediate level ..

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      18 July, 2011 at 2:43 PM

      it’s entiretly in Korean, but it’s not really a tough read, if you are interested, you can purchase the book first and slowly read it

  • Reply
    Marta
    19 July, 2011 at 1:27 AM

    Could you maybe post more snippets of info from that book? I remember reading your review and thinking about ordering the book, but I’m still only a beginner, so trying to understand it would be probably too hard/frustrating for me. I love your explanations (and your blog)!

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      19 July, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      I’m glad you find these posts useful! ^^ Will try to post more~~ more motivation for me to complete reading that book ^^

      • Reply
        Marta
        20 July, 2011 at 1:29 AM

        I save all your grammar posts, event those more advanced ones, for future reference ^^. Actually, your whole blog is a great motivation tool for me, so – thank you!

  • Reply
    임찬린
    30 July, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    this was a great explanation.

  • Reply
    Knock the Korea, Hit the road
    3 August, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    Many Korean still make a mistake. you know u sometimes teach me. I m a Korean though

  • Reply
    alodia
    17 December, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    Nice post! I saw sooo many friends (in Facebook) interchanging those two (cough! I’m guilty too a few years ago). I’m thinking, maybe because 어떡해 is often heard (on dramas / shows / Koreans) and 어떻게 is often introduced on a beginner level, confusing the beginner that 어떻게 is the same otteokhe as 어떡해.
    I don’t know how it happened, but I just realized it one day and asked my friend and she explained it to me. ^^
    Thanks for explaining though that 어떡해 came from 어떠하게 해. Even though I know the difference, THAT is something that I don’t know.

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