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The uses of ~느라고

Once again, I’m truly humbled. Not long ago, I thought of grammar constructions as ‘formulas’ and as long as I understand the explanations given the book, I can use them. Language in this sense is made up of loads and loads of different constructions. Something like a puzzle that I can solve. But I’ve realised that grammar explanations given in books are just the tip of the iceberg and there’s so much more to language.



  1. 동시에 할 수 없는 두 개의 일 중 하나를 하고 그 때문에 드른 하나를 못 했다는 의미를 나타낸다. Means that you can’t do 2 things at the same time. Doing thing A causes you not to do thing B.
  2. 앞의 내용 때문에 너무 힘들었다는 의미를 나타낸다 Because of the action in the subordinate clause, you feel tired.

(Note: Sorry for the lousy translation! Original Korean explanation from the book 한국어 문법 연습)

갑자기 일이 생기느라고 약속을 지킬 수 없게 됐어요. (X)

When I came across this sentence, I couldn’t understand why 생기느라고 is wrong. To me, it seemed like it could fit meaning 1! I asked on my blog, and my friends replied with an excellent explanation. I’m really grateful for the help I’ve always been given ^^


First off, the expression ‘일이 생기느라고’ is strange. Usually, people say ‘갑자기 일이 생겨서…’.

Next, 생기다 is a 자동사 (intransitive verb). It is incompatible with the construction ~느라고 which seems to take transitive verbs only.

예) (내가) 무엇 만드느라고 …


I’ve come across explanations for ~느라고 in different textbooks and NONE of them mentioned this! My friend kindly point me to a Naver 지식 question that is related to ~느라고 too. It’s helpful to understanding in what situations the construction is used.

나는 시험 준비를 하느라고 밤을 새웠다. (O)

나는 시험 준비를 하므로 밤을 새웠다. (X)


~느라고 takes objects in front of it while ~므로 does not.

~므로 is generally interchangeable with ~기 때문에 BUT ~기 때문에 can BOTH take objects or not. 

예)영희는 웃음을느라고 딴 데를 보았다.

      철수는 어제 책을느라고 밤을 새웠다.

예)  그 부지런하므로 성공할 것이다

        비므로 외출하지 않았다.


Writing it here again helps to consolidate my knowledge and I also wanna share what I’ve learnt with all of you (: If there are any mistakes or anything to add on, please let me know! ^^

To follow the original discussion in Korean, please click HERE

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  • Reply
    21 May, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    I remember during an oral test, I said, “너무 바쁘느라고 공부하지 못 했어요.”
    My teacher deducted marks for my wrong use of ~느라고.
    Stative verb like 바쁘다 + 느라고 is grammatically wrong.
    Since then, it stuck in my head 느라고 ONLY goes with action verb in the following form:

    A.V. + 느라고 → undesirable outcome

    In the case of ‘생기다’, I don’t know if it is intransitive verb, but it behaves like a stative verb. You find that ‘생기다’, more often than not, comes after particle 이/가. Verbs that come after 이/가 are usually stative verb. So, if we consider ‘생기다’ as stative verb, then matching with 느라고 is kinda incorrect.

    From what I know, intransitive verb doesn’t have ‘compatibility issue’ with 느라고. Intransitive verbs like 가다, 오다 and 웃다, to name a few, can pair well with 느라고.

    e.g. 병원에 가느라고 숙제를 못 했다 or 비가 오느라고 공원에 못 갔다

    As for ‘므로’, my addition is, it is used in very formal and official situation and the sentence usually ends with 입니다 or 습니다. In normal writing and conversation, you hardly need to use it. ~기 때문에 is a safer bet for normal writing.

    Just sharing what I know. Sorry for being long-winded.

    • Reply
      22 May, 2010 at 1:19 PM

      this is really helpful! ^^ i was wondering what’s the difference between stative verbs and intransitive verbs. mmm it seems like intransitive verbs do not take objects while stative verbs describe states instead of actions?

      thanks for the explanation!

      • Reply
        22 May, 2010 at 4:51 PM

        I think I know where the confusion is now.

        After doing some research, just as you wrote, ‘생기다’ is indeed intransitive verb. This is something new to me. I always treat it like stative verb though I was told it is an action verb.

        ‘생기다’ is quite special. I shall make it one of the questions I have to sought out. Thanks ^^

  • Reply
    3 February, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Isn’t this making it harder than it needs to be? The rule with ~느라고 is that the subject in the clauses to both the left and right of ~느라고 need to be the same. In

    갑자기 일이 생기느라고 약속을 지킬 수 없게 됐어요. (X)

    the subject on the left is ‘일’, and the subject on the right is, I guess, ‘저’.

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