-는 데, It takes me an hour to…

I have updated this post on my new site here.

If you can translate the title sentence you already may know this grammar. But if you can’t this post might be helpful for you.

This is not the same pattern as 는데. 는데 is the grammar that expresses

  • Contrast – but, however, although
  • Provides background information
  • Gently express a different opinion

-는 데 is actually a representation of

  • -는 일
  • -는 것
  • -는 경우
  • -는 상황

It can also be written as -는 데에, although the 에 can be omitted with no difference in meaning.

-는 데 best translates to “in doing X” or “for doing X”. Some sample sentences to illustrate

  1. 저녁을 준비하는 데 한시간 걸렸어
    1. Liberal translation – It took an hour to prepare dinner
    2. Literal translation – In the act of cooking dinner, it took an hour
  2. 차 바퀴를 바꾸는 데 얼마야?
    1. Liberal translation – How much does it cost to change the car tyre?
    2. Literal translation – In the act of, or in the case of changing tyres, how much would it cost?
  3. 아버지가 유진을 내쫓는 데 언니의 의견도 많은 참작이 됐어
    1. Liberal translation – Yoojin’s sister’s opinion played a big role in her dads kicking Yoojin out.
    2. Literal translation – In the act of, or in the case of dad kicking Yoojin out, her sister’s opinion played a big role
  4. 시험을 준비하는 데 네가 큰 도움이 됐어
    1. Liberal translation – You were a big help to me in my exam preparation
    2. Literal translation – In my act of exam preparation, you were a big help
  5. 시험을 통과하는 데 최선을 다 할거야
    1. Liberal translation – I’m going to give it my best to pass the exam
    2. Literal translation – In the act of passing the exam, I’m going to try my best
  6. 경비를 줄이는 데 자제가 필요해
    1. Liberal translation – You need self control in reducing expenses (spending)
    2. Literal translation – In the act of reducing expenses (spending), you self control

I found it easier to conceptualize when I replaced the 데 with 것 because I was more familiar with 것 than 데. And then it can be interpreted as “in” doing this “thing”.

I did say above 는데 and 는 데 are not the same grammar, but in some ways you can look at them as expressing the same meaning. When spoken, you can’t distinguish the two unless the speaker adds the 에. The following example illustrates the similarity between the two grammar points

  • I am cooking dinner~~ it’s going to take an hour (는데)
  • In the act of cooking dinner it’ll take an hour (는 데)

If you found this explanation helpful, check out my list of other grammar explanations, sorted by prevalence of use.

6 thoughts on “-는 데, It takes me an hour to…

  1. Hi Steven,

    I like your website and this explanation of 는 데. Your liberal/literal translations illustrate the concept beautifully.

    I’m making an entry on this topic for my website. Would it be okay to use one of your example sentences with the liberal/literal translations? I will give your work credit and link to your page.

    Like

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