Learn Korean: 걸 VS 지 VS 줄


Do you have any idea how these syllables are related to one another? With these syllables, we can form complex sentences using contrasting verbs 알다 and 모르다. 알다 means to know and 모르다 means to not know.

Let's begin with 걸. 걸 is the short form of 것을 which is a combination of 것 and the object particle 을. We use this to say that we (don't) know something as in I know that I am pretty. To do this, we have to attach additional characters to the verb stem in present tense. 는 is used for active verbs and (으)ㄴ is used for state verbs. Here are some examples.

나는 예쁜 걸 알아.
I know that I am pretty.

해가 동쪽에서 뜨는  알아.
I know that the sun rises in the east.

엄마는 내가 여기 사는 걸 알아.
My mom knows that I live here.


Next is 지. It is  used with question words. We use this to form sentences like I know why you are here and I don't know why he cried. It is not only 지 actually. We use (는)지 for active verbs in present tense. We use the same for active verbs in their 았/었/였 form in past tense. And we use (으)ㄴ지 for state verbs. Here are some examples.

왜 여기 왔는지 알아.
I know why you are here.

걔가 왜 울었는지 몰라.
I don't know why he cried.

그 사람 왜 그렇게 착한지 알아.
I know why he is so kind.

Lastly is 줄. This one has a wide variety of uses which you can find in my sentence patterns notes. The most basic of which is expressing a realization or a mistake in one's previous thought. To do this, we have to attach additional characters to the verb stem: (으)ㄴ is used in past tense and 는 is used in present tense. Here are some examples.


벌써 떠난  알았어.
I thought you left already.

한국인인 줄 알았어.
I thought you were Korean.

날 좋아하는 줄 알았어.
I thought you liked me.