-아 버리다 / -어 버리다 – to “completely” do X

How to attach it:

Learn about it here.

What it means:

You will see this particle attached to verbs sometimes in song lyrics. I never define the verb with this particle attached to it, I always define just the base verb.

This particle doesn’t carry a meaning that’s definable in a concrete way. It adds a nuance more than anything. That nuance is sort of to “completely” do X, or “to go and do” X.

We actually have something similar in English. Look at these sentences:

He drank it. / He drank it up.
I used all the toothpaste. / I used up all the toothpaste.
Her skin is shrivelling. / Her skin is shrivelling up.

In the above sentences, the word “up” doesn’t change the actual meaning. Nothing went up. “Up” just adds a certain flavour to the sentence. You can sort of think of -아버리다 / -어버리다 the same way.


Examples:

J’amais Vu
져버린 것 같아. ~ “Looks like I’ve lost again.”
Original verb: 지다 – to lose

The “base verb” here is 지다 – “to lose”. But you could translate this as, “Looks I’ve gone and lost again.” or maybe even, “Looks like I’ve totally lost again.”

Autumn Leaves
근데 시들어버리고 ~ “But they’re shriveling.”
Original verb: 시들다 – to shrivel, to wither, to wilt

The base verb here is “시들다” – “to wither/wilt/shrivel”. But a better translation for this sentence might be, “But they’re shrivelling all up.”

Make a bit of sense? Rather than being something definable, this particle is more something that you get a sense for as you are exposed to it. But at least now you know what it is when you see it out in the wild.


-버리다 grammar Korean