V.stem + 기에

I am interested to know if this construction is commonly used much these days. Is it used in speech or only commonly seen in text. I understand the meaning and such, just curious to its usage.
Ex) 이 아파트는 한 사람이 살기에 적당하다. “This apartment is adequate for one person to live in.”.

Thanks :slight_smile:

기에 is still used but its use in speech is somewhat waning, I think.

In speech, its shorter form -기 is used more often, -기에 seems to be more for emphasizing the “purpose” aspect of it.

The example 이 아파트는 한 사람이 살기에 적당하다 is fine, but one could also say “이 아파트는 한 사람 살기 적당해” without much loss of meaning.

-기 is also broader in meaning, in that it can mean both -기에 (purpose, utility) and -기가 (situation, disposition). For example, 살기 좋은 곳 can mean both 살기에- and 살기가 좋은 곳, while 하기 싫은 일 is strictly 하기가 싫은 일 (a task I’m loath to do) for which -기에 won’t make sense. These are very common phrases.

-기에 also can mean “because”, or “since”, as in “내가 모르기에 …” (because I do not know…). Even in this sense, it is mostly used in text, since in speech there are better forms, like “몰라서…” “몰랐기 때문에”, etc.

So -기에 seems to be used mostly in deliberate speech and text.


The above explanation is not quite right because it is too narrowly focused on -기에 and -기 without the big picture.
-기 is actually just an ending of a noun form (하다 → 하기, 높이다 → 높이기), so it should be explained with that in mind.

살기에 좋다 is thus + 에 + , where the noun has the -기 ending. The noun can have different ending too, like in 속쓰림에 좋다 (good for heartburn/indigestion), where it has -임 ending.

So the big picture of related expressions are:

  • 살기에 좋다 nice to live (in) - purpose is emphasized
  • 살기가 좋다 nice - neutral (no special connotation)
    살기(에)는 좋다 nice (but I don’t know about other things)
    살기(에)도 좋다 nice (in addition to other things)
    살기(에)만 좋다 nice (but not so for other things)

Of these, the asterisked ones are very often shortened to just “살기” because they imply the most common, typically usage as opposed to the rest which have special connotation.

It got very long, but the first explanation just didn’t seem right :slight_smile:


Thank you very much for the explanation. :slight_smile:
I guess with Korean speech its quite straightforward, usually they drop certain particles or parts of words for ease in a conversation.

Yeah, exactly.

Korean seems to have a lot of contractions in word stems and endings. I always though there’s much more of them in Korean than in English. Out of curiosity I looked up the list of English contractions on Wikipedia. It lists over 90 of them, more than I originally thought, although it’s counting similar ones like “he’ll” and “she’ll” all distintive.

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Yeah, I’m quite sure English is hard to grasp, for other nationalities.
I believe that for me, Korean starts off really easy, then I’d say it just becomes more in depth, not exactly harder.
What are your thoughts on Korean? Are you/have you studied in the past?

Well, I learned Korean as a child, born and raised there. I’ve lived in the US for a long time now but my spoken Korean is probably still better than my English :slight_smile:

Anyway I always thought Korean was more difficult and also more expressive than typical languages. It’s got many peculiarities and obscure areas, many of them connected to the cultural aspect too. There are words and expressions that are used quite differently depending on the context (colloquial, literaray, formal), the plain, polite, and still more polite forms and endings, etc. Some cultural elements may be hard to understand for outsiders too. For example, you can’t address people by their names or by “you” like you do in English, which can stifle you someitmes.
Its expressiveness I think comes from the combination of particles and the versatile verb forms. The 살기에 좋은 곳 example nicely illustrates how you can create so many different connotations and nuances just by substituting different particles. In most languages you probably need at least one additional word to achieve the same.

Anyway for a long time I thought Korean was a quite difficult language, but then I see some western students go to Korea to study and pick up the language in a year or two, then come on a TV program and talk like a pro, which I don’t seem to see Korean students do as much in English speaking countries. So I am not so sure anymore. Maybe it is true that all language are more or less the same in terms of overall difficulties of learning and just have some more or less difficult elements in them. Seems like you yourself don’t find it too hard either, which is good :slight_smile:

Interesting :slight_smile:
You’re right about the many peculiarities involved in Korean, they do stifle me a little sometimes, but in the end, I believe for myself language takes time, its neither hard or easy. As you said all languages are maybe more or less the same.
Thanks for you help.