Exploring Korean Soft Interrogatives: '나요?'

In the Korean language, when you’re expressing soft curiosity or pondering a thought aloud, there’s a grammar form that perfectly encapsulates this sentiment: A/V + 나요?.

It mirrors the English “I wonder…“.

There’s a close relative in Korean grammar, 으/은/는가(요)?, which shares a similar tone and meaning.

Understanding 나요 in context

Using ‘나요?’ is akin to musing aloud or pondering on something, gently seeking clarity or confirmation.

홈플러스에 프랑스의 치즈가 있나요?
(I wonder) does Homeplus have French cheese?
여기서 수승대까지 얼마나 걸리나요?
(I wonder) how long does it take to go from here to Suseungdae?
매일 매일 한국어를 배운다면 발음이 더 좋아지나요?
(I wonder) if I study Korean every day will my pronunciation get better?
차로 파리에 가면 버스보다 더 싸나요?
(I wonder) if I go to Paris by car will it be cheaper than taking the bus?
제가 내일 한 시간 늦게 출근하면 괜찮나요?
(I wonder) is it OK if I come to work an hour later tomorrow?

Alternate Form: 는가

Another form expressing a similar sentiment is 으/은/는가(요)?.

While less commonly used, it conveys the same introspective curiosity.

좌석을 바꿀 수 있는가?
(I wonder) is it possible to change seats?


The ‘나요?’ structure in Korean offers speakers a gentle and introspective way to express curiosity. Whether you’re genuinely seeking an answer or simply pondering aloud, understanding and using this form will add a layer of nuance to your Korean conversations.

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