Thursday, March 10, 2011

"조차"와 "마저"의 차이

My friend asked, "What's the difference between "조차" and "마저"?"

I thought I know but I actually don't. So I checked up some reference books and here is what I have learned.

"조차" and "마저" can only be used in negative situation. "조차" can be substituted with "마저" but the reverse is not always true. Their main difference is, "조차" can only be used in negative sentence (부정문, 否定文) while "마저" can be used in both negative and positive sentence (긍정문, 肯定文).


1. 그 학생은 노래조차 못 불러 (O)
2. 그 학생은 노래마저 못 불러 (O)

Explanation: In 1 and 2, the negative situation mentioned is the inability to even sing a song properly. Also, both sentences are considered negative sentences because they end with "못 불러". Since both situation and sentence are negative, "조차" and "마저" can be used interchangeably.

3. 추운데 바람조차 부네요 (X)
4. 추운데 바람마저 부네요 (O)

Explanation: In 3 and 4, the negative situation mentioned is the wind blowing during cold weather. However, quite different from 1 and 2, 3 and 4 end with "부네요" which makes them positive sentences. Under such circumstance, "조차" cannot be used. What comes after "조차" are always negative things like "못", "않다", "지 않다", "없다", "힘들다", "죽다" etc.

A quick-fix remedy is available for people who cannot differentiate both. Just use "까지". You can replace "조차" and "마저" in 1-4 and they are still grammatically correct. Furthermore, "까지" can also be used in positive situation which I'm not elaborating.

This quick-fix remedy reminds me of something which my teacher "said. If you don't know the correct usage of "(으)로서" and "(으)로써", you can always circumvent the problem by using (으)로".


  1. hahahaah. kaye also asked u! :D

  2. hi! can you explain the difference between 는데and 대문에? or are they completely different?

  3. Hi,

    은/는데 is used to provide the background of what you are about to say which, among other things, also include reason. In other words, 은/는데 is used in many situations other than to provide reason for what you are about to say. On the contrary, (기) 때문 is solely used to provide the 'cause' to an 'effect'.

    When 은/는데 is used, what you are about to say is mainly your personal thought. As such, 은/는데 is more appropriate for casual conversation.

    e.g. 비가 오는데 우산 하나 사자
    (Let's buy an umbrella because it's raining)

    Conversly, you cannot replace 는데 with (기) 때문 in the above sentence.

    e.g. 비가 오기 때문에 우산 하나 사자 (X)

    Imperative sentence (명령문, 청유문) cannot be used after (기) 때문. What that means is you should use declarative sentence after it. You can say (기) 때문 is used more in formal setting although you can also use it in casual conversation.

    e.g. 비가 오기 때문에 우산 하나 가지고 가요. (O)
    (I bring along an umbrella because it is raining)

    If you are still not very clear, it is always 'safer' to use (기) 때문 in your essay or homework. Reserve 는데 for talk with your Korean friends.

  4. Hi,
    Thank you~ By the way, I am Xueli. I love to read your posts, they are interesting! ^^

  5. in Kyunghee's advanced textbook it shows that "조차" can be used in affirmative situation too? so which one is right? help me please :(

  6. i'm quite sure "조차" can only be used in negative sentence. perhaps you want to show me an example from kyunghee textbook that writes otherwise.

  7. Haha. I realised google always bring me to your blog in the following 2 situations. 1. To know more about studying in korea (2 years ago) 2. When searching for grammar explanations.

    But I do visit directly in hope for new posts. keke

  8. Thank you for the good explanation :)

  9. It's (~로서), (~로써), and (~로)... not ~러... (~러) has another meaning while (~러써/러서) do not exist.

    1. 어머, 들켰다. 맞습니다. 저는 잘못 썼습니다.

  10. 잘 설명해 줘서 정말 고맙습니다 ^^