Korean Language Bank: -겠다
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The form -겠다 is a form you probably have heard quite often. Perhaps you have even used it in certain fixed expressions. In this Language Bank article, we are going to discuss three ways to use this form in Korean. You can either use the form -겠다 to tell others what your intentions are or you can use it for your instantaneous suppositions.

Plan

The first way how you can use the form -겠다 is to express one of your own intentions. When using the form, you can only talk about your own intentions. These are things you plan to realize from that point onwards in the near future. Furthermore, you can also use its negative form, to express your intent to not do or be something.

Plans and intentions using this form are generally not a promise to others. It mainly tells what your intentions are. To promise something you can use a form like -(으)ㄹ게요, though that you use mainly among friends and family.

An example:

가: 올해 한국어를 공부하겠어요.

나: 정말요? 그럼 내일 책을 줄래요.

A: This year I’m going to learn Korean.

B: Really? Then tomorrow I will give you a book.

Conjecture And Supposition

Another way to use the form -겠다 is to express an intuitive supposition of yours about something. This separates it immediately from the form -(으)ㄹ 거예요 and the form -(으)ㄴ/는 것 같다 as these generally have some basis for why you hold a certain supposition. Therefore, you can only use to express your immediate thoughts about something without any real basis. You can use it, for example, when someone placed a plate with delicious-looking food in front of you and your first thought is ‘delicious’.  For those kinds of situations, you use the form -겠다.

An example:

가: 우리 형은 만들셨어요. 한 번 먹어 보세요.

나: 와, 맛있겠어요!

A: My older brother made it. Try it once.

B: Wow, it looks delicious.

Future

A final way to use the form -겠다 is to use it as a future. -겠- is actually a tense marker. It indicates the future. So it is only natural that you can use it to talk about the future. The form is usually used to convey information about things that are about to happen in the near future. This is what separates it from the future form -(으)ㄹ 거예요, which you can use for both the near and the distant future. One is chosen over the other for the near future depending on the situation.

An example:

가: 점심 후에는 한국 대사님 남북한관계에 대해 소개를 하겠어요.

A: After lunch, the Korean ambassador will introduce the relationship between the two Koreans.

  •  The form -겠다 is also used idiomatically in certain situations:
    • 저음으로 뵙겠습니다. XXX입니다
    • 잘 먹겠습니다
    • 다녀오겠습니다
  • The form -겠다 is also used to be less assertive and thus more gentle and polite.

How To

Using the form -겠다 with a verb or an adjective is among the easiest in Korean grammar. You simply need to add it to the verb stem and conjugate it from there. You needn’t worry about vowels in the last syllable or ‘batchim/no batchim’. Simply append and you are done. There is, however, one thing to keep in mind.

When you want to talk about past, initial suppositions, you can use the form -았/었겠다.  It is not so common to do so, though it is a possibility.

Korean Language Bank Overview: -겠다
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Korean Language Bank Overview: -겠다
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