Sunday, October 24, 2010

영어 Hint of the Day #17: "I love you so much." 생각보다 단어가 "so" 조금만 더 힘들다

The word "so" is a little trickier than it may seem.

When you use the word "so" in a sentence, it usually implies an emotional attachment.  The best analogy that I can draw would be to the Korean phrase "죽겠어" (an almost impossible phrase for a non-native Korean speaker to both pronounce and use correctly).

(o)  Shin Mi-Na is so beautiful.  (That's a fact, right?)
(o)  신미나가 너무 예쁩니다.  (There are about 100 ways to call Shin Mi-Na beautiful in 한국말.  안그래?)

While the translations of the two sentences above are correct, the English version, "Shin Mi-Na is so beautiful" has an extra emphasis, which is not objective.  The sentence in Korean is a bit less emotional.

In short, use the word "so" when you mean something that has a strong emotional attachment.  Use a different word, such as "very," which means almost the same thing, but it would have slightly less emphasis.  The word "so" should probably be avoided in strict academic or business communication, whereas "very" is probably more acceptable.  That does NOT mean that "so" is erroneous, but there is a slightly different meaning attached with the word "so."

One very good thing about English:  once you have the command of two simple words like "so" and "very," then you do not need to learn, use, or think of, other descriptive language.  As I mentioned above, one reason that Korean is more difficult than English is that there are hundreds of ways to say the same thing in Korean, those ways are always changing, and sometimes if the pronounciation is wrong (as in 죽인다), the meaning can be totally different.  In English, everyone will understand "so" and "very" easily.

Good Luck.


Post a Comment