Learn Korean: 괜히 + Verb


Let’s take a look at the Korean sentence pattern 괜히 + Verb. We use this to express sudden regret. It carries the nuance I just did something and I regret it or I shouldn’t have done what I just did. For example, I always had bangs ever since I was young, but today, I decided to let go of the old me, I mean, my old hairstyle. I thought a little change would be good. In less than an hour, I got rid of my thick bangs but it really didn't turn out the way I expected. I totally regretted having them cut. So I say I shouldn't have (cut my hair). The enclosed part is the main verb. *To cut the bangs in Korean is 앞머리를 자르다. We conjugate the verb in its past tense form (잘랐다) and place 괜히 just before it. When the listener knows what has been cut (the bangs), there is no need to mention it. The actual sentence is (앞머리를) 괜히 잘랐어(요).


괜히 말했어.
I shouldn’t have said it. (I just told her I like her but she hasn't respond at all)

앞머리를 괜히 잘랐어.
I shouldn't have cut my hair. (now I look like a mushroom)

비행기표를 괜히 샀어.
I shouldn't have bought a flight ticket. (I didn't know corona virus would take over the world)