Beginner 3 > Lesson 1

Lesson 1. “It’s been (time) since~” (Verb-ㄴ/은 지 time 이/가 되다)​

지 can act as a representation of time when used with the construction:

VERB STEM + ㄴ/은 지 + TIME이/가 + 되다


This is used to indicate the period of time that has passed between a past action and the present. To create this meaning, the tense of the action is indicated by the use of the past modifier ㄴ/은 and 지 is used to imply the start of the action. Therefore, this can literally be translated as “to become (time) since I started verb” or more naturally as “I have been doing verb for (time)…”.




제프랑 사귄 지 6개월이 됐어요 – It’s been 6 months since I started dating Jeff (/I’ve been dating Jeff for 6 months).

밥을 먹은 지 5분이 됐어 – I’ve been eating for 5 minutes.

채식주의자가 된 지 3년이 됐어요 – It’s been 3 years since I became a vegetarian.

빅키샘의 유튜브를 구독한 지 8개월이 됐죠? – You’ve been subscribed to Miss Vicky’s YouTube for 8 months now, right?

Note: 지 and ㄴ/은 have to be spaced. This 지 should not be confused with the indirect question -ㄴ/는/은지 that we’ll learn in Beginner 3 course.

Unlike the examples above, it is also possible to use this construction for actions that are NOT still happening in the present. In this way, 지 is used to show the period of time since an action last occurred. In these cases, the most natural translation then becomes “It’s been (time) since I…”.




밥을 먹은 지 5분이 됐어 – It’s been 5 minutes since I ate (/I haven’t eaten for 5 minutes).

샤워한 지 10분 됐어요 – It’s been 10 minutes since I last showered.

요리해 준 지 오래 됐잖아요 – (Come on, you know) it’s been a long time since you last cooked for me.

소설책을 본 지3주일쯤 됐어요 – it’s been around 3 weeks since I last read a novel.


Note: As per usual, the 이/가 particle is removable.


To make this distinction more clear, 지 can be used with negatives.


밥을 안 먹은 지 5분이 됐어요 – I haven’t eaten for 5 minutes (/it’s been 5 minutes since I started not eating).

우리가 안 만난 지 사흘 됐어 – We haven’t met in 3 days (/it’s been 3 days since we started not meeting).


It is also possible to replace the verb 되다 in this expression with other verbs such as 넘다 (to go over, to be more than) and 지나다 (to pass by, for time to fly by) etc.




한국어를 공부한 지 1년이 넘었어요 – I’ve been studying Korean for over a year.

선생님을 만난 지 벌써 3개월이 됐네요 – (I see that) it’s already been 3 months since I met my teacher.

이사온 지 벌써 이틀이 지났네요 – 2 days have already passed by since I moved in.


You can also form questions using 얼마나(how long) and 오래(for a long time) in this 지 construction:


한국어를 공부한 지 얼마나 됐어요? – How long have you been studying Korean?

운동한 지 오래 됐어요? – Have you been exercising for a long time?

미국을 떠나신 지 얼마나 됐습니까? – How long has it been since you left America? (very formal)