동안 vs. 정도

When expressing a duration of time, what does one use? I seem to see 쯤, 약, 정도, 동안 and the like pretty regularly but not exactly sure on how to distinguish them. To help clarify, 동안 is the only one that denotes a duration. All others are approximations of duration.

동안 : during (that time)

방학 동안 뭐할거야?
What are going to do during your vacation?

잠시 동안만 기다려줄래?
Can you wait for just a while?

두시간 동안 밥먹었어
I was eating for two hours (or, during two hours, I ate food)


정도 : about (approximately)

두시간 정도 밥 먹었어
I was eating for about two hours (but I'm not sure)

한 달 정도 일번어 공부했어요
I've been studying Japanese for about a month, I guess.


정도 is an inexact figure of time. It's used to indicate that you're not sure about the length of duration, but that it is approximate. Similar terms include 쯤 and 약 which also expressions relating to approximation as in:

2시 쯤에 광화문에서 만나자
Around two o'clock, let's meet at Gwanghwamoon.

3 시간 쯤 동안 있었어요
I was there for about three hours


is more of an approximation of not a set time, like a meeting, but an elapsed time as in:

약300미터 직진 후 좌회전입니다.
After about 300 meters, make a left.

약 10년전에 헤어졌어요
We broke up almost ten years ago


They are all pretty much the same thing. Approximately the same thing. Sort of the same thing. Kind of the same thing.

3 Responses to “동안 vs. 정도”

topikexam said...

Thank you.
It was really informative..

KANG said...

좌회전 // 헤어 졌어요

Matthew Smith said...

thanks guys for the encouragement and corrections ^^