[Korean grammar] -아/어 버리다 Expressing Completion

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가: 자야 씨, 왜 그렇게 화가 났어요?
Jaya, why are you so angry?
나: 제가 사다 놓은 케이크를 동생이 다 먹어 버렸거든요.
My little brother ate all of the cake that I had bought.

가: 작년에 나온 제품들을 어떻게 하지요?
What should we do with last year’s products?
나: 다음 주부터 신상품을 팔아야 하니까 작년 제품들은 싸게 팔아 버립시다.
We’ve got to sell the new products from next week, so let’s sell off last year’s products at cheap prices.

This expression refers to the complete and thorough finishing of an action or event. It can refer to the fact that nothing remains after the completion of the event or action, and it can also express a variety of feelings and attitudes toward the completed event or action. For example, it can express the speaker’s feeling of regret, sorrow, and lament at an unfortunate result, the speaker’s feeling of relief about a positive change of events, or the speaker’s feeling of anger or surprise about how a situation turned out. Only verbs can be attached to this expression.



• 유행이 지나 입지 않는 옷들을 다 치워 버리려고 해요.
I plan to get rid of all the clothes that are no longer popular and aren’t being worn.
• 날씨가 덥고 해서 머리를 짧게 잘라 버렸어요.
It was so hot (and all) that I cut my hair short.
• 그 사람이 결국 떠나 버렸어요. (그래서 너무 아쉽고 섭섭해요.)
In the end, (s)he left for good. (So I am very sad and miss her/him.)
• 10분밖에 안 늦었는데 친구는 저를 기다리지 않고 가 버렸어요.
Even though I was only 10 minutes late, my friend took off without waiting.

Because this expression can indicate a wide variety of emotional states, it is important to understand the emotional state of the speaker from the particular context.
• 그 사람이 드디어 떠나 버렸어요. (그래서 너무 시원해요.)
(S)he eventually left. (So I’m very relieved.)
• 그 사람이 통화 중간에 전화를 끊어 버렸어요.
(S)he hung up the phone in the middle of the conversation.
(그 사람이 화가 많이 났나 봐요. / 그 사람은 버릇없고 무례하게 행동했어요.)
(Thus (s)he must have been really angry. / (S)he was very rude

>> You can click on the title of each grammar below to learn about the other grammars which also express ‘Completion:
>> Full of Intermediate grammars: Click here

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