[Korean grammar] -아/어 보이다 Expressing Conjecture and Supposition


가: 마크 씨, 얼굴이 피곤해 보여요. 무슨 일 있어요?
Mark, you look tired. Did something happen?
나: 어제 숙제하느라고 잠을 못 잤거든요,
I wasn’t able to sleep yesterday because I was trying to get my homework done.

가: 아키라 씨, 제가 머리 모양을 바꿨는데 어때요?
Akira, I changed my hairstyle. How does it look?
나: 머리 모양을 바꾸니까 훨씬 어려 보이네요.
You look much younger now that you’ve changed your hairstyle.

This expression is used to indicate one’s conjecture or feelings based on the outward appearance of a person, thing, or event.

가: 할아버지, 청바지 입으셨네요.
Grandpa, you’re wearing blue jeans.
나: 청비”지를 입으니까 더 젊어 보이지? 
Don’t I look younger now that I’m wearing blue jeans?

가: 이 음식은 많이 매워 보이는데 괜찮겠어요?
This food looks really spicy, is that okay?
나: 이제 매운 음식에 익숙해져서 팬찮아요.
I’m used to spicy food by now, so I’ll be fine.

가: 영진 씨한테 무슨 일 있어요?
Did something happen to Yeongjin?
나: 왜요? Why?
가: 도서관 앞에서 봤는데 많이 우울해 보였어요.
I saw him in front of the library and he looked really sad.

1. This expression is only used with adjectives, so combining it with verbs results in grammatically incorrect sentences
• 아키라 씨가 한국말을 잘해 보여요. (X)
->아키라 씨가 한국말을 잘하는 것 같아요. (O)
잘하다 is adverb and thus cannot be combined with -아/어 보이다.

2. -게 보이다 is an alternate form of this expression having the same meaning.
• 그 옷을 입으니까 날씬해 보여요.
= 그 옷을 입으니까 날씬하게 보여요.

See also  [Korean grammar] -도록 하다 Giving Recommendations and Advice

>> You can click on the title of each grammar below to learn the other grammar that also expresses ‘Conjecture and Supposition’:
01. -아/어 보이다
02. -(으)ㄴ/는 모양이다
03. -(으)ㄹ 텐데
04. -(으)ㄹ 테니까
05. -(으)ㄹ걸요
06. -(으)ㄴ/는/(으)ㄹ 줄 몰랐다[알았다]
07. -(으)ㄹ지도 모르다

>> Full of Intermediate grammar: Click here


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