Saying “almost” in Korean! (거의 • 뻔하다 • 하마터면)

Please remember that I am not fluent and this is just my understanding. Let me know if there’s mistakes!


을/를 뻔하다

->Almost verbed, but didn’t

->Indicates relief that the action didn’t occur

   -when deciding how to add ㄹ follow normal future tense rules

->Used with past tense “if” statements to say “If this didn’t happen, I would have~”



I personally think of it as “to a degree” such as “almost all” “almost a year” “to the point of laughing” (these will make sense in the examples ill give)

-> When paired with 뻔하다 it means “I almost did to the point of” so it best translates as “came close to verbing”



Often paired with 뻔하다 to add emphasis. It goes before the clause to give a heads up that it’s an almost statement. The best explanation I can think of is “the test I failed…. almost” vs “the test I almost failed” (there’s other patterns too that use adverbs for emphasis/to give a heads up. Examples are: 만약~으면 and 마치~처럼/같다)


한국어 공부한지 거의 1년 됐어요

I’ve been studying korean for almost a year


 어비스라는 시리즈를 거의 다 봤어요

I’m almost finished watching abyss (I watched almost all of abyss)


거의 웃을 뻔했어요

I came close to laughing (i almost did to the point of laughing)


저는 시험에 떨어질 뻔했어요

I almost failed the test (I the test failed, almost)


저는 시험에 하마터면 떨어질 뻔했어요

I almost failed the test ( I the test, almost failed)

(notice how in the previous sentence it sounded like I failed the test? You didn’t know it was “almost” until the end. But in the next sentence you know that it was “almost” before you even knew I was talking about “failing”) 


하마터면 기차를 놓칠 뻔했어요

My older brother almost missed the train


우리 오빠는 늦게 일어나서 하마터면 기차를 놓칠 뻔했어요

Older bro almost missed the train because he woke up late


네가 전화하지 않았더라면 약속을 까먹을 뻔했어!

I would have forgotten the appointment if you didnt call me 


Published by Hannah & Shelbi

We are just 2 students who wish to share the love and joy of learning language through lesson posts and translations! We are doing this for fun, based on our experience and questions we ask native speakers. We are not fluent! Just passionate  ~ Hannah, Shelbi, and Jordan

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