수 [ su ] as a Bound Noun

There are so many different meanings of 수 including ‘a number’ as in ‘책의 수 (the number of books). Among them, I would like to introduce one often used meaning of 수 used as a bound noun.

It means ‘ability to do something‘ or ‘possibility something will happen(usually solutions)‘. As a bound noun, it usually comes after the ending -ㄹ,-을,-를 (ability to do something), or -ㄴ,-은.-는 (possibility something will happen). This expression is used with 있다 [ itda ] meaning ‘there is’ or 없다 [ eopda ] meaning ‘there is not’.

To emphasize the meaning, an -도, or -가 can be used as in 수도 or 수가.

ex)

누군지 알 수 없다. <알다 a verb meaning ‘to know’>  (It is not possible to know who(m).)

죄송해요. 갈 수 없어요. <가다 a verb meaning ‘to go’>  (Sorry. I can’t go.)

제가 갈 수도 있어요. (I think I can come.)

제가 화나는 수가 있어요. <화나다 a verb meaning ‘to get angry’> (It can make me angry.)

자리를 바꾸는 수가 있어요. <바꾸다 a verb meaning ‘to change’ or ‘to switch’> (There is a way that we can change the seats. / There is a way, which we can change the seats.)

  • The grammar related to this expression can be much longer and more complicated. I tried to make it simple as possible.