Intermediate Grammar #2: ~(으)ㄴ/는 모양이다 “I guess…”

~(으)ㄴ/는 모양이다:

  • Used to infer or guess a situation after observation (what did you see/hear?)
  • 모양 = “shape” or “appearance”
  • Can be used with ~(으)ㄴ/는 걸 보니까 earlier in the sentence and gives the reason for the supposition


  • Not used for talking about yourself (you can’t infer/guess about yourself)
  • Not for subjective thoughts (use ~(으)ㄹ 것 같다 instead)
  • Should be based on something you KNOW – some fact



  • 과거: ~았/었던 모양이다
  • 현재: ~(으)ㄴ 모양이다
  • 미래: ~(으)ㄹ 모양이다


  • 과거: ~(으)ㄴ 모양이다
  • 현재: ~는 모양이다
  • 미래: ~(으)ㄹ 모양이다


  • 과거: 였던/이였던 모양이다
  • 현재: 인 모양이다



  • V: 아주 높은 점수를 받은 걸 보니까 어제 공부한 모양이에요.
    (Since he got such a high score, I guess he studied yesterday.)
  • N: 똑똑한 걸 보니까 강사 이였던 모양이다.
    (He’s smart, so I think he’s probably a professor.)
  • N: 여기 색깔보면 하늘색이 아니라 옛날에 파란색이였던 모양이에요.
    (If you look at this color, it doesn’t look like sky blue, but I guess it’s an old blue.)
  • V: 지금 샤워하고 있는 걸 보니까 달리기 한 모양이에요.
    (Since he’s showering right now, I guess he went for a run earlier.)


  • A: 운동을 많이 한 걸 보니까 살이 빠진 모양입니다.
    (Since you exercise a lot, I guess you’ll lose weight.)
  • A: 지금 화가 난 모양이에요.
    (It seems like she’s angry right now.)
  • V: 전화를 안 받은 걸 보니까 수업 하는 모양입니다.
    (Since he didn’t pick up the phone, I guess he’s in class.)
  • N: 경찰차와 사고 난 걸 보니까 바보인 모양이야!
    (Since you got in a car accident with a police car, I guess you’re an idiot!)
  • A: 이 컴퓨터가 느린 모양이에요.
    (This computer seems slow.)
  • V: 지금 학생들이 타자연습 하는 모양이에요.
    (I guess the students are practicing touch-typing right now.)


  • V: 이제 부터 아기가 걸어갈 모양이에요.
    (I think the baby should be able to walk about now.)
  • A: 2020년에 스마트폰들이 더 쌀 모양입니다.
    (By 2020, I bet smartphones are even cheaper.)
  • V: 나중에 이분은 소설을 쓸 모양이에요.
    (I bet that guy will write a novel in the future.)
  • V: 오늘 밤에 고기를 사는 걸 보니까 불고기를 만들 모양입니다.
    (Since he bought meat tonight, I guess they’ll have bulgogi for dinner.)

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

How goes your study? Any more tips?