After a week of slowing down on Korean grammar, it is time to return to it. I’m returning to it with the grammar pattern 때문에, which is in many ways the same as the previous pattern -어/아서. This is very easy way to express reason or cause without going through the hassle that comes with Korean verb conjugation. Let’s give it a proper look over.
The Korean grammar pattern 때문에 is very easy to use. When you use it, the first clause of your sentence is the clear reason or cause of whatever follows in the second clause. When you translate it into English, you could very well translate it as “Because”. There is little else to say about it so let’s go take a look at an example.
Example: 눈 때문에 밖에 조심해야 해요.
Translation: You need to be careful outside because of the snow.
How To Use
The grammar behind the Korean grammar pattern 때문에 is very easy. You can use verbs, adjectives and nouns easily with this pattern. However, there are still a few things you need to understand about the pattern. There are two situations you need to be aware of. If you use it with a verb/adjective, you need to use its -기 form, which is very easy on its own. When you pair it with nouns you can just write it after the noun like that.
Secondly, for verbs and adjectives using 때문에 is a very literal expression. Therefore most often the expressions -어/아서 or -(으)니까 are preferred over this pattern when using either verbs or adjectives as these are more ambiguous. Building on that, be aware there is a difference between using just the noun and using a noun + 이다, the copula. When you use just the noun, the noun itself is the cause. However, if you use noun + 이다, the reason being; because of something is in said state. Let’s look at an example:
Example #1: 아이 때문에 술을 못 마셔요.
Translation: I can’t drink alcohol because of the child.
Example #2: 아이인 때문에 술을 못 마셔요.
Translation: The child cannot drink alcohol because he’s a child.
Next, like its brother -어/아서, you cannot use this grammar pattern in sentences which are imperative or propositive. If you want to express such sentences with a reason or cause for it, you need to use the pattern -(으)니까.