[Korean grammar] -(으)ㄹ 뿐이다 Expressing Emphasis

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가: 자야 씨, 호영 씨를 좋아하고 있지요?
Jaya, you like Hoyeong, right?
나: 네, 하지만 고백할 용기가 없어서 지금은 바라보기만 할 뿐이에요.
Yes, but I don’t have the courage to declare my love, so for now I can only watch (him) from afar.

가: 오늘 회의를 8시간이나 했는데 결정된 것은 없고 시간만 보냈을 뿐이네요.
Today’s meeting lasted a whole eight hours with nothing getting decided. We did nothing but waste time.
나: 그러게요. 그럼 내일 또 회의를 해야 하는 건가요?
You’re right. So do we have to hold another meeting tomorrow?

This expression is used when there is only one available course of action or state of being, In such cases, 뿐 has the same meaning as 오직 (solely, merely, only).



• 지금은 아무 것도 하고 싶지 않아요. 잠 자고 싶을 뿐이에요.
Right now, I don’t want to do anything. I only want to sleep. 
• 진수 씨에 대한 이야기는 소문으로 들었을 뿐이에요.
As for the news about Jinsu, it’s merely what I’ve heard from rumors.
• 지수는 단지 같은 과 친구일 뿐인데 다른 사람들이 애인인 줄 알아요.
Jisu is simply a friend in my department, but other people think she’s my girlfriend.

This expression can be made even more emphatic by using the form N만 -(으)ㄹ 뿐이다 or A/V-기만 -(으)ㄹ 뿐이다.
• 저는 그냥 그 사람의 얼굴만 알 뿐입니다.
I really only know that person’s face (and nothing else),
• 그 사람한테 연락이 오기만을 기다리고 있을 뿐이에요.

I’m just waiting to hear from that person.

>> You can click on the title of each grammar below to learn about the other grammars which also express ‘Emphasis’:

>> Full of Intermediate grammars: Click here

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