1. When you would like to informally tell your friends about what you realized from your own experience, you can use -더라 ending: 
  • 스페인 사람들은 하몬을 정말 좋아하더라 = (From my experience, I realized that) Spaniards really love jamón.
  • 니 친구 한국말 참 잘 하더라 = (From what I saw, ) Your friend spoke Korean very well. 

Remember that -더라 is NOT exactly a polite, formal ending.  It is spoken informally, only with peers, close friends and family. 

  1. But when you add to -더라, the meaning becomes different.  The ending -더라도 means “Even if” and it is used both informally and formally, written of spoken. 
  • 만일 내가 돌아오지 않더라도 당신 먼저 가세요 = Even if I don’t come back, you go first. 
  • 괴롭더라도 참아! = Even if it’s painful, hang in there! 
  1. And when you add to -더라 with a past tense verb, the ending -ㅆ더라면 makes a conditional clause in the past tense, meaning “If … had done….,” for hypothetical situations.  It’s both formal and informal, written or spoken. 
  • 그가 마스크를 썼더라면 코로나에 걸리지 않았을텐데 = If he had used a mask, he would not have caught coronavirus. 
  • 그때 내가 그걸 했더라면 지금 모든 게 달라졌을 겁니다 = If I had done it at that time, everything would be different now. 

One of the most artistic songs by 방탄소년단 (BTS) is “전하지 못한 진심 (The Truth Untold),” where the group keeps calm and carries on quietly with the last example of the hypothetical “-ㅆ더라면.”  As with many of their early hit songs, this gem-like lyrical masterpiece uses main themes on Korean traditional modal scales, as opposed to the Western musical modes typical of today’s popular songs.  The translated title “The Truth Untold” seems established thanks to Youtube, and it makes perfect sense in English. As learners of the Korean language, however, you might prefer word-for-word translation of the original title “전하지 못한 진심 (眞心)” as “My True Feelings That I Could Not Convey.” 

  • 전하다 = convey, communicate, hand over 
  • -지 못하다 = can not 
  • 전하지 못하다 = can not convey 
  • 전하지 못= … that I could not convey [Relative clause in past tense, modifying the noun that follows] 
  • 진심 = True, honest feelings/thoughts
  • 전하지 못한 진심= (My) True feelings that I could not convey

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