TTMIK Level 6 Lesson 5 - I am in the middle of ...-ing
In this lesson, we are going to learn how to say that you are “in the middle of doing” something in Korean. In Level 2 Lesson 10, we introduced the structure -고 있다 [-go it-da] as the plain present progressive and now in this lesson, let us take a look at some other ways of expressing the present progressive, using the word 중 [jung].
중 [jung] = middle, center, medium
The word 중 [jung] can be used with many other words to form various meanings that are related to middle, center or medium. When you want to say “I am in the middle of doing something”, you can use 중 in the form of “-고 있는 중이다”.
-고 있는 중이다 [-go it-neun jung-i-da] = to be in the middle of + Verb-ing
The basic form of the present progressive is -고 있다 [-go it-da]. To this, you can add the ending -는 to change the verb into the adjective form to modify the noun “중".
→ -고 있 (progressive) + -는 중 (in the middle of Verb-ing)
→ -고 있는 중 + -이다 (to be)
→ -고 있는 중이다 (to be in the middle of Verb-ing)
** You only conjugate the verb -이다 at the end to express the tense of the sentence.
1. 가고 있는 중이에요.
[ga-go it-neun jung-i-e-yo.]
(Verb: 가다 /ga-da/ to go)
= I am on my way.
= I am in the middle of going.
** You can say 가고 있어요 to mean the same thing, but -는 중 emphasizes the fact that you are in doing something right at this very moment.
2. 뭐 하고 있는 중이었어요?
[mwo ha-go it-neun jung-i-eo-sseo-yo?]
(Verb: 하다 /ha-da/ to do)
= What were you doing?
= What were you in the middle of doing?
3. 열쇠를 찾고 있는 중이었어요.
[yeol-soe-reul chat-go it-neun jung-i-eo-sseo-yo.]
= I was in the middle of looking for the key.
** For all the sentences above, you can change -고 있는 중 to -는 중 to mean the same thing.
가고 있는 중이에요. → 가는 중이에요.
뭐 하고 있는 중이었어요? → 뭐 하는 중이었어요?
열쇠를 찾고 있는 중이었어요. → 열쇠를 찾는 중이었어요.
Sample Mini Dialogs
A: 공부해요! 언제 공부할 거예요?
B: 하는 중이에요!
A: Study! When are you going to study?
B: I am!
A: 뭐 하는 중이었어요?
B: 아무것도 안 했어요.
A: What were you doing?
B: I didn’t do anything.
A: 다 샀어요?
B: 아직 고르는 중이에요.
(Verb: 고르다 = to choose, to pick)
A: Did you buy everything?
B: I am still in the middle of choosing.