Beginner 3 > Lesson 21

Lesson 21. How to say, “Why don’t we / you~?” | Verb-는 게 어때요?

When offering suggestions in Korean, the word 어때 can be used to mean “Why don’t we/you…?” or “How about we/you…?”. This combines with nouns and verbs slightly differently as follows:



N + 어때(요)?

STEM + 는 것 어때(요)?

사과 어때요? – how about an apple?

먹는 것 어때요? – how about eating?

As you can see, in both cases, 어때요 can be combined directly with nouns. This is why, when combined with verbs, the noun (nominalised) form of the verb is used instead of the verb directly.

As previously shown, this noun form is commonly shortened to 는 거 when spoken and 은/는, 이/가 markers can be added and form contractions with this. Common examples include:

는 거 + 이/가 -> 는 게

는 거 + 은/는 -> 는 거는 -> 는 건 (adds emphasis or contrast)


When saying ‘Noun + 어때요?’ you can also mark the Noun with topic markers (은/는) and subject markers (이/가).

오늘 저녁 일찍 먹는 거 어때요? How about we have dinner early today?

=오늘 저녁 일찍 먹는 게 (먹는 거 + 가) 어때요?
오늘 저녁 일찍 먹는 건 (먹는 거 + 는) 어때요? (adds more emphasis, or implies contrast)

사과 어때요? How about an apple?
=사과 어때요?
사과 어때요? (adds emphasis, or implies contrast)


NB: 는 것 is added directly to verb stems regardless of 받침 (e.g., 먹는 것 and 하는 것). However, when added to irregular verb stems with ㄹ 받침, the ㄹis deleted from the verb stem before 는 거 can be added.

e.g., 만들다 -> 우리가 직접 케잌을 만드는 거 어때요? – How about we make the cake ourselves?

      놀다 -> 주말엔 일하지 말고 노는 게 어때요? – On the weekend, why don’t we hang out instead of work?


Example sentences

일단 먹고 얘기하는 게 어때요? – Why don’t we eat first and then talk?

다시 해보는 거 어때요? – Why don’t you try again?

8시 말고 6시에 만나는 거 어때요? – How about meeting at 6pm instead of 8pm?

오늘은 사과 2 개만 사는 거 어때요? – How about we only buy 2 apples today?

언니한테 전화해보는 게 어때요? – Why don’t you try calling your older sister?

이 가방이 너무 비싼데 이거 어때요? – This bag is too expensive. What about this one?

이렇게 하는 건 어때요? – Why don’t we do it like this?

제가 주중에 시간 되는데… 목요일 어때요? – I’m free on the weekdays, how about Thursday?

A: 뭘 사는 게 좋을까요? – What shall I buy?
B: 이 귀걸이 어때요? – How about this earring? [귀걸이: earring]


It is also possible to add -ㄹ/을까? to this construction (=어떻다 + ㄹ/을까(요) = 어떨까(요)?) to add an extra level of the ‘shall we…?” and possibly sound comparatively less insistent or opinionated. 

e.g., 이번에는 막걸리를 마시는 거 어떨까요? – Why don’t we drink makgeolli this time?

지난 주에 태국 음식을 먹었으니까 오늘은 일본 음식을 먹는 게 어떨까요? – Since we had Thai food last week, why don’t we try Japanese food today?

피곤해 보이시는데 오늘은 그냥 쉬시는 게 어떨까요? – You look tired, so why don’t you just take a rest for today?