Originally posted: July 18, 2011
____ 할까 말까 해요
This is an expression that — if my memory serves me correctly — is taught in Level 2. It is a handy way to say that you are trying to make your mind up between two different courses of action.
You can also use the expression without the “말까” part and just say, “할까 해요.”
- 한국에 가서 영어 강사로 일할까 말까 하고 있어요.
- I’m thinking about moving to Korea and working as an English teacher.
Of course a more direct translation would be “I’m trying to decide whether or not I should move to Korea and work as an English teacher,” but it’s redundant and grammatically sketchy.
This expression is often coupled with the “____ 하는 중이다,” which means, “I’m in the middle of _____ .”
Coupling those expressions would look like this:
- 한국어 6급으로 올라 갈까 말까 하는 중이에요
- I’m thinking about moving up to the level 6 Korean class. (Adding “in the middle of” to the sentence in English would make it awkward, so I left it out.)
- 지금 다니는 회사를 그만둘까 말까 하는 중이에요.
- I’m thinking about quitting my job.
- I’m thinking about whether or not I should quit my current job. (A redundant but quite common sentence)
Here is a similar expression.
고민하다: To mull something over; to be debating something (in one’s mind)
- I’m debating whether to return to America for graduate school
- 대학원에 들어가기 위해 미국에 돌아갈까 말까 고민 중입니다.
- I’ve liked that girl for a long time. I’m debating whether to ask out on a date.
- 그 여자를 예전부터 좋아했어요. 데이트 신청할까 말까 고민 중이에요.
If all of these expressions are a breeze for you, here are some more advanced ways of expressing similar concepts.
숙고하다/심사숙고하다 : deliberate, think over carefully
검토하다: to examine, to consider
저울질하다: to weigh (the pros and cons)
- 귀하의 제안에 대해서는 이틀 여유를 주시면 심사숙고해 본 후 답변을 드리도록 하겠습니다.
- If you can give me two days of leeway, I will get back to you after having considered your company’s proposal thoroughly.
- 국회에서 이동통신 요금 인하 정책에 대한 결의안을 검토 중입니다.
- The National Assembly is currently examining a bill that’s part of a policy to reduce mobile communications fees.
- 지금 진로 문제를 놓고 대학원을 갈지 취직을 할지 저울질 중입니다.
- I’m currently preoccupied with the issue of my future path — weighing the prospects of going to graduate school or finding employment.