Intermediate Grammar #13: ~거든요 “That’s because… / It was…”


  • Respond to a previous statement or answer a question by giving a reason for something
  • Equivalent to “That’s because…”
  • The Listener doesn’t know facts the Speaker knows


  • ONLY conversational, ONLY among close friends
  • It can’t be used in the first clause of a new conversation, only after or in response to an initial statement
  • ~거든요 lets the Listener know that there is more the Speaker wants to say



  • A/V: ~았/었거든요
  • N이다: 였/이었거든요


  • A/V: ~거든요
  • N이다: (이)거든요


  • A/V: ~(으)ㄹ 거거든요



  • Adj: A: 왜 커피를 안 마셨어요? B: 그 커피는 엄청 달았거든요. A: Why didn’t you drink the coffee? B: Because that coffee was way too sweet.
  • V: A: 지난주에 고향가서 김장을 했어요? B: 아니요, 못 갔어요. 학교에서 기말고사위해서 공부를 했거든요. A: Did you do Kimjang in your hometown last week? B: No, I couldn’t go. I had to study for final tests at school.
  • N: A: 오늘 수업에 지각했어요. B: 왜? 어젯밤에 늦게 잤어? 나이트클럽 갔어? A: 네, 생일 파티 였거든요. A: Today I was tardy for class. B: Why? Did you sleep late last night? Did you go to the nightclub? A: Yeah, there was a birthday party.
  • Adj: A: 왜 요즘 내 문자와 전화를 안 받아? B: 일이 많아서 정신이 없었거든요. A: Why haven’t you replied to my messages or phone calls recently? B: Because I’m going crazy since I have so much work to do.
  • V: A: 지난주에 외출 했지? B: 네, 여자친구랑 소풍 갔거든요. A: Did you have an outing last week? B: Yes, I went on a picnic with my girlfriend.
  • N: A: 그게 뭘까? B: 입학 서류였거든요. A: What was that? B: It was an application form.


  • Adj: A: 왜 소녀시대를 그렇게 좋아해요? B: 소녀시대는 쌕시하거든요. A: Why do you like Girl’s Generation so much? B: Because they’re sexy.
  • V: A: 요즘 날씨가 추워졌어요. B: 네, 겨울이 오거든요. A: The weather’s gotten cold recently. B: Yeah, that’s because winter is coming.
  • N: A: 소치 동계 올림픽에서 김연아가 무슨 메달을 받았어요? B: 은메달 이거든요. A: What medal did Kim Yuna get at the Sochi Winter Olympics? B: It was a silver medal.
  • Adj: A: 왜 지금 땀이 나요? B: 덥거든요. A: Why are you sweating now? B: Because it’s hot.
  • V: A: 들었어요? 서울에 홍수가 났대요! B: 그래요? 거기는 비가 많이 오거든요. A: Did you hear? It’s flooding in Seoul! B: Really? That’s because it’s raining a lot there.
  • N: A: 그 휴대폰은 왜 이렇게 비싸? B: 새로운 제품이거든요. A: Why is that handphone so expensive? B: Because it’s a new one.
  • V: A: 집에 밥이 없어요? B: 네, 자동차 트렁크안에 쌀이 들어 있거든요. A: There’s no food at home? B: Right, that’s because the rice is in the trunk of my car.


  • Adj: A: 사람들이 어벤져스2 영화를 왜 기다려요? B: 정말 재미있을 거거든요! A: Why are people waiting for the Avengers 2 movie? B: Because it’s going to be awesome!
  • V: A: 지금 먹구름이 많이 끼었어요. B: 비 올 거거든요. A: There are lots of dark clouds right now. B: That’s because it’s going to rain.
  • Adj: A: 왜 옷을 많이 입어요? B: 자전거 타고 집으로 갈때 추울 거거든요. A: Why are you wearing lots of clothes now? B: Because it’s going to be really cold when I ride my bike home.
  • V: A: 시간이 없는데 이제 밥 먹어요? B: 걱정마세요. 빨리 먹을 거거든요. A: Since you don’t have much time, can you eat right now? B: Don’t worry. I’ll eat quickly.
  • Adj: A: 집에 늦게 가면 안돼요? B: 네, 안돼요. 내 가족이 배고플 거거든요. A: You shouldn’t go home late? B: Right. That’s because my family will be hungry.

**These are notes from Korean Grammar in Use: Intermediate. For more in-depth explanations, buy the book.