[Grammar] ~ㄹ/을까 싶다

~ㄹ/을까 싶다 (~eul/eul-gga sip-da) – 1. I’m afraid/worried that (this/that would happen…) 2. I (am wondering if I would) want to do this or that…

You will realise that the first meaning is quite similar to ~을/ㄹ까 봐 while the second meaning is similar to ~고 싶다. Well, ~ㄹ/을까 싶다 is really similar to both.

In fact, for the first meaning, ~ㄹ/을까 싶다 has the exact same meaning as ~을/ㄹ까 봐. It’s just a different variation of saying the same thing.

Another thing to note, ~을/ㄹ까 봐 is more of giving a reason for a situation or happening that precedes the statement ending with ~을/ㄹ까 봐. On the other hand, ~ㄹ/을까 싶다 is usually placed in front or to end a statement to oneself.

Remember, both ~ㄹ/을까 싶다 and ~을/ㄹ까 봐 can only be used in a first person.


하늘은 너무 어두우니 비가 올까 싶어 빨리 집으로 가야지.
The sky is so dark and I’m afraid/worried it will rain so let’s quickly go home.

어휴 시험이 너무 어려웠어 열심히 공부할 걸. 시험이 잘 못 볼까 싶어.
Sigh, the test was really hard, I should have studied hard. I’m afraid/worried that I’ll not do well for the test.

Now on to the second meaning – ~ㄹ/을까 싶다 is basically a less determined or certain version of ~고 싶다. The difference can be likened to that of ~(은/ㄴ & 을/ㄹ)것 같다.


너무 배고픈데 떡볶이나 오뎅을 먹을까 싶어.
I really hungry now so I (am wondering if I would) want to eat rice cakes or fish cakes.

올해는 여행을 가러 할 건데 미국이나 유럽으로 갈까 싶어.
I’ll go for an overseas trip this year but I (am wondering if I would) want to go to America or Europe.

As you can see, if there is more than one choice, you should use ~ㄹ/을까 싶다 instead of ~고 싶다. It will help the listener or reader understand that you want to do something but just not very sure yet.

With ~고 싶다, it’s almost as if that’s the only thing you want to do at a given moment.

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