Grammar Series -(이)나, Part 2

Part 2 of the -(이)나 grammar series will cover the usage of choosing something, though it is not ideal. To return to the series index click here.

The usage definition is paraphrased from the Naver dictionary. It is confusing at first glance but makes sense once you learn what it means. Not quite ideal for what a definition is supposed to do though unfortunately… but it is a tricky one that would be difficult to define in one sentence.

A lot of the time 나 is equivalent to the English expression “or something”. See the examples below:

exampletranslation
심심한데 영화 보러 갈래?You wanna go watch a movie or something?
커피 한잔 하자Let’s have a cup of coffee or something.
피곤한데 잠이나 자자I’m tired. Let’s sleep or something.
A:날씨도 좋은데 드라이브 가자.
B:아냐. 피곤해 난 집에서 숙제 할래.
A: The weather is nice, lets go for a drive
B: Nah, I’m tired I’m gonna do some homework or something at home

I hope after seeing these examples the definition though it is not ideal makes more sense. The option provided isn’t the ideal thing, but it doesn’t mean it is something bad either. If you think about it, these examples aren’t that different to first usage of 나 in Part 1 of this series. You can see it as only one option being provided instead of two (or more). The second sentence could have been 커피나 차 한잔 하자. The important thing that is common to both sentences is that the option(s) themselves aren’t important. You’re just saying “lets have a coffee (or tea) or something”.

Click here to go onto part 3 of the (이)나 grammar series.

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