는데 / 은데 but, background

present: verb+는데, adj+(으)ㄴ데, noun+인데
past : 았/었/였는데
future: (으)ㄹ 텐데 (guess, prediction)

그런데 connects two complete sentences while -(으)ㄴ/는데 connects two clauses. For example,

 저는 키가 작아요. 그런데 제 동생은 키가 커요.
=> 저는 키가 작은데 제 동생은 키가 커요.

For more about 그런데, please click here.

Let’s look at the uses and conjugation for 은데/는데.

Present tense
verb + 는데 => 가는데, 먹는데, 주는데,…
adv+(으)ㄴ데 => 좋은데, 예쁜데, 추운데….
noun+인데 => 선생님인데, 의사인데…

Past tense
verb/adj + 았/었/였는데 => 갔는데, 먹었는데, 마셨는데, 했는데, 좋았는데, 컸는데, 작았는데, 추웠는데, 더웠는데…

Future tense : (으)ㄹ 텐데 or (으)ㄹ 건데
verb/adj + (으)ㄹ 텐데 => 좋을 텐데, 갈 텐데, 먹을 텐데, 마실 건데, 할 건데…

Uses>>

1. Contrast : but, however, although

저는 수학을 잘하는데 제 동생은 수학을 잘 못해요.  I am good at math, but my sister(brother) is not good at math.
미국은 땅이 넓은데 한국은 땅이 좁아요. The U.S. is big, but Korea is small.
어제는 커피를 마셨는데 오늘은 커피를 안 마셨어요. I drank coffee yesterday, but today I didn’t drink.
어제는 따뜻했는데 오늘은 좀 쌀쌀해요. It was warm yesterday, however it is chilly today.
매일 공부하는데 계속 잊어버려요. Although I study every, I keep forgetting it.
작년에는 비가 많이 왔는데 올해는 비가 거의 안 와요. It rained a lot last year, but it hardly rain this year.
옛날에는 공기가 좋았는데 지금은 아주 안 좋아요. The air was very clean in the past, but it is very bad now.
이 스마트폰은 비싼데 안 좋아요. This smart phone is very expensive, but it is not good.
일이 많이 힘들 텐데 정말 열심히 하네요. The work must be very hard, but she works hard.

2. Give someone background information before asking a question, suggestion or command/request.

비가 오는데 어디에 가세요?  It is raining, where are you going?
이렇게 늦었는데 아직도 일을 하세요? It is very late, are you still working?
돈도 없는데 이렇게 비싼 가방을 어디에서 샀어요? We don’t have money, where did you get this expensive bag?
오늘 좀 바쁜데 내일 만날까요? I am a little bit busy today, can we meet tomorrow?
오늘 날씨가 안 좋은데 내일 떠나는 게 어때요? The weather is not good today, how about we leave tomorrow?
지금 점심 먹으러 갈 건데 같이 갈래요? I am going to eat lunch, do you want to join?
지금 비가 많이 오는데 이따가 가세요. It is raining hard now, leave later.
이 스마트폰이 비쌀 텐데 돈이 어디에서 났어? Where did you get money, this smart phone must be expensive.

3. At the end of a sentence, express polite refusal(different opinion) or more to say(let the listener to figure out the conversation), 

Q: 이 티셔츠 좀 촌스럽지 않아요? A: 아니요, 예쁜데요. (different opinion)
Q: Doesn’t this T-shirt look out of style? A: No, it is pretty.

Q: 오늘 같이 영화 볼까요?  A: 미안해요, 오늘 약속이 있는데요. (polite rejection)
Q: Do you want to watch a movie together? A: I am sorry. I have a plan.

Q: (전화) 앤디 씨 집이에요? A: 네, 맞는데요. (let the listener to figure out how to continue the conversation, the listener can wait for more questions or he/she can ask a question)
Q: (on the phone) Is this Andy’s house? A: Yes, it is. Who is this?

Q : 미나 씨가 전화를 안 받네요. A: 그래요? 지금 집에 있을 텐데요. ((let the listener to figure out how to continue the conversation)
Q: Mina doesn’t answer the phone. A: Oh, really? She must be at home now.

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5 thoughts on “는데 / 은데 but, background

  1. hi, my teacher. Firstly, thank you so much for your great lessons and informations. I have a question when we say last year and also use with topic particle , we are writing 작년에는 but that is right ? how we are writing 에 and 는 together ( we have done that upward. I remember that we are not using these are together in one nouns. thanks again 🙂

    1. You can definitely use 에 and 는 together, you can also use other particles with 은,는. We don’t use subject(이,가)/object(을,를) particles and topic(은,는) particles together.

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