Korean Idioms & Proverbs: 가는 날이 장날
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Korean Idioms & Proverbs: 가는 날이 장날

Like all languages, Korean has a lot of proverbs and idioms to use to change things up when writing and speaking. To truly enjoy Korean literature you will have to master quite the list of idiomatic expressions and proverbs. Luckily plenty of expressions probably will have their own versions in your language, thus you needn’t despair.

The first expression in this series of Korean idioms and proverbs is 가는 날이 장날. This expression means that something unexpected happened while you were doing something. The real meaning can either be “To be tough luck” or “You never know your luck”. It mainly depend on the context of the situation, though it is more often used in a negative context to easily convey a feeling of frustration or irritation with something that happened. Please note that this expression is not a full sentence (it lacks a conjugated verb); so you will need to integrate it in a sentence.

Example: 가는 날이 장날이라고 한 달 전부터 기대하던 소풍날 아침에 굵은 빗방울이 떨어지기 시작했다.

Translation: It was tough luck when it started to rain in the morning of the month-long longed for picnic.

Have you seen this expression before? Or perhaps you’ve used it in a text you’ve written yourself! Please share your experience in the comments. Expressions are easier to understand when you see it being used by others.