Intermediate Grammar #32: ~던 “Used to”

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  • Used to recall a habitual action or behavior that “used to” happen regularly – but hasn’t continued
  • Equivalent to “used to”


  • Use in front of NOUNS
  • Use #1: to express something that no longer happens, but once did (여러 번, 자주, 가끔, 항상)
  • Use #2: to recall something that was started, but not yet concluded (지난달, 지난주, 어제, 아까, 저번에)
  • Use #3: to describe something that has been used until the present time (but is not NEW)
  • DO NOT USE: for once occurring events
  • USE: for often repeated past events
  • Difference: ~던 (past behavior not yet ended) vs. ~(으)ㄴ (past behavior that’s ended)
  • Difference: ~던 (recollection of repeated action) vs. ~(으)ㄴ (simple past – not meaning recollection)



  • ~던

~던 Personal Examples:

  • 어렸을때 자주 먹던 음식이 치즈였어요.
    When I was young, the food I used to eat most often was cheese.
  • 여기는 내 아내와 내가 옛날에 다니던 학원이예요.
    This is the hagwon that my wife and I used to attend a long time ago.
  • 왜 전에 공부하던 책을 계속 공부해요?
    Why are you still studying that book you already studied before?
  • 내 아들의 입던 옷을 교회 친구한테 줬어요.
    We gave the clothes my son used to wear to a friend at church.
  • 키투코리언 블로그에서 토요일마다 제가 즐겨 듣던 한국 음악을 번역해서 올렸어요.
    On the KeyToKorean blog, every Saturday I used to translate and upload the Korean music I enjoyed listening to.
  • 내가 어렸을때 살았던 미국집을 팔았어요.
    The home I used to live in in America when I was a child was sold.
  • 내가 미국에 살 때 배우던 언어는 중국어, 중국에 살 때 배우던 언어는 일본어, 일본에 살 때 배우던 언어는 한국어, 그리고 지금 한국에 살면서 배우고 있는 언어는 한국어잖아요.
    I used to study Chinese when I lived in America; I used to study Japanese when I lived in China; I used to study Korean when I lived in Japan; and now, while I’m living in Korea, you ought to know that I’m still studying Korean.
  • 내가 사용하던 종이컵을 버렸어요?
    Did you throw away the paper cup I was just using?
  • 내가 항상 사용하던 프로파일 사진이 어디 갔어요?
    Where did the profile picture I always used to use go?

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