[Vocabulary] 하긴

하긴 (ha-gin) – do/did something/the act of doing OR in fact/indeed/actually

Let’s look at the first meaning, which is actually just a short form of 하기는, which means to do or did something, or just referring to the act of doing something.

For example, we can add 하기는 to 공부하다 (to study) to make it 공부하기는 (the act of studying) and the subject (or one of the subjects) of a sentence.

It is commonly used with 하지만 (do but) or the past tense 했지만 (did but) to acknowledge a fact but present an opposite view.

하기는 하지만/했지만 can be better understood as “I clearly did it but…” with a little sense of disappointment or surprise, therefore the need to present an opposite view or outcome.

We would usually insert 하기는 or 하기는 하지만/했지만 in the middle of a sentence, between two separate clauses.

Note that we can simply add ~긴 to any other action verbs to make it a noun, too. For example, 먹긴 (eating), 걷긴 (walking), 읽긴 (reading).


아까 점심을 먹긴 했지만 지금 배가 고픈데.
I did (clearly) ate during lunch just now but I feel hungry now.

그 학생은 2달 전부터 공부하긴 했는데 성적 왜 좋지 않은지 모르겠어.
That student did (clearly) started studying since 2 months ago but I don’t know why his grade is not good.

책을 많이 읽긴 했지만 다 잊어벼렸어.
I did read a lot of books but I have forgotten all of it.

Now, how about the other meaning, which is actually quite different?

하긴, when placed in front of a sentence by itself without any verbs attached directly in front or behind, can mean “in fact/indeed/actually” or in some cases “well”.

Most of the time in this context, 하긴 acts more like a filler than anything else. But in some cases, of course, it can be used by the speaker to point out something that the listener(s) didn’t notice or know.

A comma after 하긴 would be the best giveaway but in speech, it’s hard to tell. Even then, just look out where 하긴 is placed and it should be good.


하긴, 우리 아빠는 요리도 잘하네요.
Actually, my Dad cooks pretty well.

하긴, 그렇네요.
Well, that explains it. (I took this from Daum Dictionary)

하긴, 그 동안 진짜 잘 챙겨 주셔서 감사합니다.
In fact, you’ve really taken good care of me all this while so thank you.

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