Intermediate Grammar #34: ~던데요 “No, actually…” OR “Yes, surprisingly…”

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  • Say something that contradicts what someone else said OR
  • Express surprise at a past situation or event
  • Equivalent to “No, actually…” or “Yes, surprisingly…”


  • Combines ~더~ (recollection) + ~(으)ㄴ데요 (contradiction, surprise, background info)
  • Can be used mid-sentence to indicate that the past is contradictory to the present (~던데…)
  • Past tense: ~았/었던데요
  • Difference: ~더라고요 = recollection, but NOT contradiction / ~던데요 = recollection + contradiction



  • 과거: ~았/었던데요
  • 현재: ~던데요


  • 과거: 였/이었던데요
  • 현재: (이)던데요

Work (School) Examples:

  • V 과거: 사무실에 한 교수님이 휴일때마다 락밴드 티셔츠와 반바지를 입었던데요.
    In the office, one professor surprisingly always comes in wearing rock band t-shirts and shorts on his days off.
  • N 과거: 일이년 전에 우리 학교에서 런닝맨 방송팀이 왔서 방송을 했던데요.
    One or two years ago, the Running Man broadcasting team actually came to our school and broadcast the show.
  • A 현재: 고등학교에 한 수업을 취소했지만 계속 바쁘던데요.
    Even though one class at the high school was canceled, I’m actually (surprisingly) still quite busy.
  • V 현재: 이 번 학기에 학생들 설문조사를 필요할없던데요.
    We actually don’t need to give the students a survey this semester.
  • N 현재: 학교 근처에 새 건물이 많이 생기던데요.
    In the area around the school, surprisingly many buildings have appeared.
  • A 과거: 예전에 마지막 수업이 끝나고 운전해서 집에 갈 때 길이 너무 막혔는데 좋아하는 음악을 듣고 가니까 좋던데요.
    A long time ago, when I finished my last class and was driving home, though the road was quite crowded, since I listened to good music while I drove, I actually liked it.
  • V 과거: 삼사년 전에 내 학원에서 일이 끝나고 회의 했었는 여러 선생님이 결석했었던데요.
    Three or four years ago, when work finished at the hagwon and they had a meeting, a few teachers were surprisingly absent.
  • N 과거: 옛날에 여러 교수님들이 학생들을 가르칠 때 사용한 것이 영사기이었던데 요즘은 텔레비젼이나 파워포인트를 사용하죠.
    A long time ago when professors taught students, the tools they used were projectors, but these days we actually use televisions and PowerPoint, don’t we?
  • A 현재: 부장님이 항상 바쁘던데 내가 연락을 해보면 항상 받아요.
    Even though the boss is actually always busy, if I ever try to contact him, he always answers.
  • V 현재: 지난 학기에 학생들이 사진을 찍던데 이 번 학기는 안 찍었어요.
    I actually took pictures of all my students last semester, but this semester I didn’t.
  • N 현재: 학생들이 많이 읽는 신문이 학교신문이던데 재미있나봐요.
    The newspaper students read most often is surprisingly the school newspaper, so it seems like it must be interesting.

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