무슨

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Meaning

  • What, what kind of, what sort of
  • Some, some kind of

As a question

Depending on the intonation, can mean either 'what' or 'what kind of.' If the sentence starts with a high pitch and ends with a downward intonation, then it is an interrogative pronoun meaning 'What ... ?' or 'What kind of ... ?' However if the rising intonation comes at the end, it is a indefinite pronoun meaning 'something.' See the examples below

Sentence Intonation Audio Meaning
무슨 일이에요? Up and then down (insert audio) What's wrong?
What's going on?
무슨 일이에요? Gradually rising (insert audio) Is something wrong?
Is something going on?

Used in Declarative Sentences

When 무슨 is used in declarative sentences it is a indefinite pronoun meaning 'something.'

Contraction

  • 무슨 is sometimes contracted as 먼 in informal situations (text messaging, talking to a friend, instant Messaging etc).
    • 무슨 소리야 → 먼 소리야
    • 무슨 말인지 몰라 → 먼 말인지 몰라

어떤 vs 무슨

Whats the difference?

Common phrases

  • 무슨 소리에요? / 무슨 소리야? - What do you mean? What are you talking about?
  • A/V + 기는 무슨
  • N +는 무슨

Sentence examples

As an interrogative pronoun:

Korean English Notes


As an indefinite pronoun

Korean English Notes