버릇 vs 습관

Habits. When talking about the things you do everyday, would you use 버릇 or 습관? Since they both mean "habit" can't you just say 좋은 습관 and 나쁜 습관 to differentiate between "good" and "bad" habits? Doesn't context fill that it in anyways? Not exactly. Let's take a look:

버릇
This type of habit is almost always negative but not necessarily an everyday occurrence. It can also mean "manners" in the sense that someone has none. Think of smoking, not washing your hands, belching or picking your nose; all disgusting bad habits. They are also actions done without thinking. Of course, there are exceptions to these already convoluted rules. Examples:

제 친구는 코파는 버릇이 있어요
My friend picks his nose.

나쁜 버릇 고치겠다고 약속해라. 알겠니?
Promise me that you will break your habit. You got it?

너 술버릇을 고쳐야 돼.
You've gotta change your drinking habits.

왜 버릇이 없어?
Why don't you have any bad habits?

그는 버릇이 없어요.
He's got no manners.



습관 (習慣)
This can be negative or positive. When we think of the English word "habit" this might be the Korean word that most closely resembles it in terms of something that is done consistently. Examples:

나는 식사 후에 초콜릿을 먹는 습관이 있어요
I have a habit of eating chocolate after I eat.

대학생 때 저녁마다 조깅하는 습관이 있었어요.
When I was in college, I had the habit of jogging every evening.

젊은 사람들은 요즘 Google로 정보 검색하는 습관이 있어요.
Young people have the habit of using Google to search for things.

결혼하고나서 옛날 나쁜 습관들이 많이 변했어요.
After I got married, I changed a lot of my bad habits.

내 학생 중에 나쁜 언어 습관을 가진 학생이 있어요.
I have a student who has a bad mouth (out of habit).

고등학교 졸업하고나서부터 철저하게 계획을 세우는 습관을 붙였어요.
Since graduating high school, I got into the habit of thoroughly planning everything.

3 Responses to “버릇 vs 습관”

Brad Wilke said...

Hi Matthew,

Good to see you studying KOrean so hard! I'm trying to get my Korean-English translation blog happening again but want to adapt it so it's more useful as a study tool for intermediate to advanced level students. I need to learn some skills that enable me to use it more effectively as a self-study tool. I'd like to be able to add audio but can't find a way to do it...I've also noticed that you have some tables added in your text...would you mind sharing how you managed to do it? I've tried and tried but just can't find a way....

Anthony said...

I think 습관 (習慣) means something more like "custom" in English. Like the custom of washing one's hands before dinner. Just guessing from the 한자 though.

wang.sejong said...

Could there be a mistake in the translation of one sentence?

왜 버릇이 없어?
Why don't you have any bad habits?

I don't understand why 왜 버릇이 없어? is not "Why don't you have any manners?" I would think "Why don't you have any bad habits? would be 왜 나쁜 버릇이 없어? or, perhaps, 왜 나쁜 습관이 없어?

Thanks for your site,

Wellington King