V+ 을/ㄹ 바에(는)

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김 부장, 노후 대책은 어느 정도 준비됐어?
Mr. Kim, how far are you ready to prepare for your later years?
응, 나는 개인 보험도 있고 연금도 있어서 그럭저럭 괜찮을 것 같아.
Yeah, I think I’m fine somehow since I have personal insurance and also a pension.
나는 들어 놓은 보험도 없고 국민연금에 납입한 금액도 적어서 걱정이야.
I’m worried because I don’t have insurance and the amount paid toward the National Pension Service is low.
그럼 돈 잘 버는 자식들한테 좀 기대면 되잖아.
Then you can rely on the kids that make a good profit.
그건 아니야. 자식한테 기댈 바에는 좀 어려워도 연금으로 살고 말지.
That doesn’t seem right. I would live on my pension rather than relying on my children.
옛날에는 자식이 부모를 부양하는 게 당연한 것이었는데 세상이 참 달라졌어.
It was natural for children to support their parents in the past, but the world has changed quite a bit.

V+ 을/ㄹ 바에
It is attached to the stem of an action verb to mean that the speaker will choose the content of the following clause if things will go as said in the preceding clause but that’s not what the speaker intended. No matter whether it’s positive or negative, you should include extreme content in the following clause. It is often used in the form of ‘-을/ㄹ 바에는’ with the postpositional particle ‘는’ attached.

여자 친구가 직접 만든 음식을 먹을 바에 굶는 것이 더 나아.
It’s better to starve than to eat what your girlfriend made herself.

그 곳으로 여행을 갈 바에는 나는 여행을 가지 않겠어요.
I’d not go on a trip rather than going there for the trip.

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기왕에 미안하다고 사과할 바에는 분명하게 해야 해요.
You have to be clear if you are going to apologize.

Related words
연금 pension
그럭저럭 somehow
국민연금 National Pension Service
납입 pay
금액 amount paid
기대다 to rely on

Source: Yonsei University. Korean Language Institute

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