To be on the verge of V-ing: (을)락 말락 하다

V + (을)락 말락 하다 (I almost did but didn’t) is effectively the opposite of 는 둥 마는 둥 하다 (I almost didn’t but I did). It has a stronger sense of personal agency/will than 을 뻔했다, which is more accidental:

하늘이 맑으면 본토에서 섬이 보일락 말락 해요.

On a clear day, the island is almost visible from the mainland.

꽃을 필락 말락 해요.

The flowers are about to bloom.

1960년대에 미국과 러시아가 전쟁을 벌일락 말락 했어요.

In the 1960s, the U.S. and Russia were on the brink of war.

친구가 닭 분장을 입은 것을 봤을 때 저는 빵 터질 뻔 했어요.

When I saw my friend wearing a chicken costume, I almost burst into laughter.

나뭇잎이 떨어질락 말락 해요.

The leaves are about to fall.

잠이 들락 말락 하려는 참에 이웃이 음악을 크게 틀기 시작했어요.

My neighbor started playing loud music when I was about to fall asleep.

비가 올락말락 해요.

It’s threatening to rain.

들리락말락한 목소리로 남자가 기도하기 시작했어요.

The man began to pray in a barely audible voice.

을 지경이다

A/V + 을 지경이다 is an emphatic expression meaning ‘on the verge of’ or ‘to the point of’. It comes from the hanja word for boundary (地境). It is used to highlight the extremity of a situation. It is most often used negatively, with verbs of hardship:

샘이 나서 죽을 지경이었어요.

I was green with (dying of) envy.

객차가 너무 더워서 기절할 지경이었어요.

The train carriage was so hot that I almost fainted.

아침 식사를 먹는 둥 마는 둥 했더니 점심에 배고파 죽을 지경이었어요.

At lunchtime I was starving (dying of hunger) because I only had a few mouthfuls of breakfast.

목이 말라 죽을 지경이에요. 

I’m dying of thirst.

이 곡을 얼마나 들었는지 말할 수 없을 지경이에요. 

I can’t tell you how many times I listened to this song.

일이 힘들어 포기할 지경이에요.

This is so hard I’m about ready to give up.

돈이 없어서 라면만 먹어야 할 지경이에요.

I’m going to have eat just ramen, I’m so broke.

동생이 귀찮아 비명이 날 지경이에요!

My little brother is such a nuisance I could almost scream!

좀 전에 달리기를 했더니 다리가 너무 아파서 쓰러질 지경이에요.

My legs hurt so much after running that I’m about to faint.

미세 먼지 때문에 숨이 막힐 지경이었어요.

I can barely breathe because of the fine dust.

사우디의 여름은 더워서 몸이 녹을 지경이에요.

Summer in Saudi is so hot that my body is about to melt.

코로나바이러스 걱정에  병이 날 지경이에요.

I’m worried sick about the coronavirus.

숙제가 어려워서 미칠 지경이에요.

The homework is so difficult that I’m about to go crazy.

그 사람은 큰 목소리로 통과해서 화가 날 지경이에요.

That guy talking loudly on his phone is making me mad.

밤새 고양이가 야옹야옹 울어 대서 귀찮을 지경이에요!

The sound of caterwauling all night is so annoying!

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