Monday, October 12, 2009


I have been taught to use '왜냐하면' like '그래서', and for a long time, I thought that '왜냐하면' is a word like 'because'. Of course, it is not, if you know indirect speech form. '왜냐하면' is the short form of '왜냐고 하면' and is literally translated as 'if you ask why' or 'in case you wanna know why. It looks simple now but it wasn't when I was a beginner.

왜냐하면' is not the only expression I stumbled upon, there are also similar expressions like '뭐냐면' (if you ask what it is), '어떻게 되냐면 (if you ask how it become), 어디 있냐면 (if you ask where it is), which baffled me. As a beginner, I really had a hard time deciphering their meanings.

When providing explanation or information which is not being asked, foreigners usually don't start with "if you ask..."; we just go straight to the point. However, culturally, Koreans are obliged to make an assumption that you may want to know more before they continue with what they want to say. In this way, even if the listener doesn't really want to know more, the speaker will not appear rude because he is speaking on the basis of an assumption.

There is one more thing which I learned about '왜냐하면'. To use it like 'because', I have to start a sentence with it and end with '때문이다' like "왜냐하면... 때문이다." (If you ask why, it is because of ...).

Beginning is always tough. In learning, I am always encouraged by the thought that 'I will know it one day.'


  1. I learned this as "because" too. I'll have to be more careful when listening, so I can try to try to understand 왜냐하면.

    I also wasn't aware of 되냐면 and 있냐면 so thanks for bringing these up! It's interesting that you find learning new meanings of phrases you've learned before encouraging. I kind of feel the opposite since it means that even things I thought were simple have more shades of meaning than I would have ever expected. It makes me wonder if I can ever hope to understand everything. Still, it's good to know, so thanks again!

  2. 공부하면 공부할 수록 좋아지기 마련이잖아요.
    그냥 부담 없이 공부하면 돼요.

  3. Thank you very much ! It is really helpful

  4. i think it is kind of like chinese? like when i watch chinese variety programmes, sometimes the host will talk about something, then say "wei shen me ne? na shi yin wei .... "

    original time stamp: 13 October 2009 07:00

  5. not really the same. i am too lazy to explain ㅋㅋ

    original time stamp: 14 October 2009 00:36

  6. Can you please tell me what the meaning of this word "왜나면" is? Thank you so much.

    1. "왜나면" is the same as "왜냐면". Both mean "because".

  7. 이 "쁘록"은 너무 좋아. 왜냐하면 여기에 새로운 것은 처음에 알기 때문이에요.