[Korean grammar] -(으)려다가 Expressing Intention

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가: 어제 휴일인데 뭐 했어요?
Yesterday was a holiday. So what did you do?

나: 공짜 표가 생겨서 전시회에 가려다가 혼자 가기도 그렇고 해서 그냥 집에 있었어요.
I got a free ticket to an exhibition and was going to go, but then I didn’t really want to go alone, so I just stayed at home.

가: 그럼 저한테라도 말하지 그랬어요?
So why didn’t you tell someone like me about it?

나: 안 그래도 전화를 걸려다가 세린느 씨가 바쁠 것 같아서 그만두었어요.
Actually, I had planned to call you, but you seemed busy, so I didn’t.

This expression is used to indicate that the subject had intended to do some action but then decided to quit or to do something else instead. It is the shortened form of -(으)려고 하다가. It is also used in the form -(으)려다 in which 가 is omitted. It only attaches to verbs.


• 차가 낡아서 새로 구입하려다가 일 년 더 타기로 했다.
I had wanted to buy a new car because my car is old and beat up, but I decided to just drive it for one more year.

• 피자를 시켜 먹으려다가 살이 찔 것 같아서 참고 그냥 잤다.
I had intended to order pizza, but I figured I’d gain weight, so I restrained myself and just went to sleep.

• 동생에게 심부름을 시키려다 바람도 월 겸 해서 내가 직접 갔다.
I had planned to ask my little brother to run some errands for me, but I decided just to do it myself while getting some fresh air.

1. For this expression, the objects of both the preceding and following clauses must be the same.
(내가) 커피를 주문하려다가 잠이 안 올 것 같아서 내 친구가 주스를 주문했다. (X)
一>(내가) 커피를 주문하려다가 잠이 안올 것 같아서 (내가) 주스를 주문했다. (O)

2. This expression is also used when indicating the sudden interruption of, or change in, some gradually changing or newly created situation or state of affairs.
• 날씨가 선선해지려다가 다시 더워졌다.
The weather had been becoming cool, but then it became hot again.
• 드라마가 재미있어지려다가 말았다.
The drama (series) was getting interesting and then stopped (getting interesting).

>> You can click on the title of each grammar below to see other grammars which also express ‘Intention’

1. -(느)ㄴ다는 것이
2. -(으)려고 들다
3. -(으)려다가

>> Full of ‘Korean grammar in use – Advanced’: Click here
>> Full of ‘Korean grammar in use – Intermediate’: Click here

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