Discovery And Surprise: -네요
Yesterday I talked about how you could express your amazement with the pattern -군요/는군요. However, also mentioned that that is used in written texts, not in speech. So today I want to talk about a Korean grammar pattern that has the same meaning, but one you can use in daily conversations: -네요.
There is little difference between -네요 and -군요/는군요. You can use either two to express your amazement upon seeing or learning something new. However, whereas you could use the latter to express surprise over things you have experienced yourself or over things you’ve just heard, you can only use -네요 to express surprise over things you’ve learned yourself directly. That and the fact you use -네요 in daily speech are the only difference between them.
Besides its similar use with -군요/는군요, you can also use -네요 to express agreement with something another person said.
However, using this pattern is not as easy as the explanation above makes it appear. There is a hidden danger when using -네요. Depending the situation it is better not to use this ending ever. You see this verb ending can not only express your surprise, but it can also have a strong sarcastic connotation. Especially when you are talking about someone’s situation. Let us look at a little example of that:
어머니: 집안일이 진짜 힘들어. (My chores are really tiresome).
아이: 힘드네요. (It certainly is tiresome)
The example above might seem innocent enough, but the child’s response can end up angering the mother. The 힘드네요 without careful control over your intonation will sound sarcastic, even belittling to the mother. So it is better to not use the ending -네요 in these cases to avoid such potential miscommunications. In fact, it is better not to use it in response to something someone tells you about their situation as to avoid such situations.
You can translate -네요 as “really”, “certainly”, “wow”, “My!”, etc.
How To Use
There is not a lot to say about how to use -네요. Regardless whether it is a verb or an adjective, you can simply slap this verb ending to the verb stem and you are done. You only need to be careful of ㄹ irregular verbs, because you need to drop their batchim ‘ㄹ’ when using this ending.