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생각하다 vs 것 같다 | How to say "I think" In Korean

Updated: May 31


안녕하세요 리더님~ Koreanstudyjunkie입니다! 예전에 '다고 생각하다'와 '것 같다' 차이가 뭔지 질문하는 분들이 많으니까 이해하게 설명해보도록 하겠습니다!


In the past many people have asked what's the differenct between '다고 생각하다' and '것 같다', so I'm going to try to explain it so that you guys can understand.



SAYING “I THINK” INDIRECTLY

것 같다 has a nuance of uncertainty. You can think of it as 'probably' 'it looks like' or 'it seems'. It gets translated as “I think”, but just remember the feeling it gives. *It’s a supposition (an uncertain belief - you are not 100% sure).


Other Differences:

Typically will only be conjugated into the present tense.


Example Sentences:

그것은 꽤 높은 것 같습니다. = It seems too high.


그 남자의 건강상태가 심각한 것 같아요. = I think his health condition is really bad.


하늘을 보니 밤에 눈이 올 것 같아. = Looking at the sky, It seems like it’s gonna snow.


철수도 심심한 것 같아요. = I think Cheolsu is bored too.


제 친구가 이미 나간 것 같아. = I think my friend already left.


오늘도 많이 추운 것 같아요. = I think it’s really cold today too.


비빔밥을 맛있는 것 같아요. = I think bibimbap is delicious



SAYING “I THINK” (more) DIRECTLY


생각 is the literally word for “thought” in the Korean language. 생각하다 means “to think”. 다고/라고 생각하다 (I think) is used to express an opinion that you're certain about it.


Other Differences:

If you want to use past or future tense (I thought, I will think, etc.) you should use -다고/라고 생각하다 instead.


Plain form + 고 생각하다 | Nouns (이)라고 생각하다, 아니라고 생각하다

이다 > 이고 생각하다 (X), 아니다 > 아니고 생각하다 (X)



Example Sentences:

하늘이 파랗다고 생각합니다. = I think the sky is blue.


그 남자의 건강상태가 심각하다고 생각해요. = I think his health condition is really bad.


저는 한국말이 어렵다고 생각해요. = I think that Korean is difficult.


선생님이 좋은 사람이리고 생각했어요. = I thought the teacher was a good person.


비빔밥을 맛있다고 생각해요. = I think bibimbap is delicious



EXCEPTIONS:

There are some contexts where --라고/다고 생각해요 and --것 같아요 are used interchangeably. In this kind of context, using '--라고 / 다고 생각해요' can give a stronger feeling of certainty and belief of something.


내가 비가 오지 않을 것 같아 / 같아요. / 같습니다. (60-70% sure)


내일 비가 오지 않을 거라고 생각해 / 생각해요. / 생각합니다. (80-90% sure)


I think that it won't rain tomorrow. (I don’t think It will rain tomorrow.)


내일 비 안 와요 / 내일 비 안 올 거예요 (100% sure)

It’s not raining tomorrow. / It won’t rain tomorrow.


내일 제 친구가 언어교환에 올 것 같아요. (60-70% sure)


내일 제 친구가 언어교환에 올 거라고 생각해요. (80-90% sure)


I think my friend will come to the language exchange meetup tomorrow.


내일 제 친구가 언어교환에 올 거예요 (100% sure)

My friend will come to the language exchange meetup.



Another way to think about it:

라고 / 다고 생각해요 describes what you actually think of something OR your actual thoughts and opinions on something, while -것 같아요 more describes your emotions. There are many instances in which 다고 생각하다 and 것 같다 can be used interchangeably when at it’s most basic level you want to say “I think [insert opinion].


예쁘다고 생각하다 = 예쁜 것 같다


A Different Form:

제 생각에는 ….

In my opinion…


Then you say a normal statement as you usually would.


 

That's all for this lesson! 여기까지 읽어줘서 너무 감사합니다~ There are much, much more lessons like this where it came from here. Visit koreanstudyjunkie.com/blog and use the search feauture to look for specific topics.


If you like this style of lesson (this vs that), I have a series where I explain a bunch commonly confused things in Korean. For example: 달 vs 개월 vs 월 (link here), 못 vs ㄹ 수 없다 (link here), and 달걀 vs 계란 (link here)


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