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Korean grammar - Nothing but, nothing else - 밖에

Nothing but, nothing else - 밖에

Pattern: Noun + 밖에

The particle 밖에 is attached to a noun and means 'nothing but' or 'nothing else' or 'except'.

It expresses that no more than one thing or option is available or remains.

-- Literally it means 'outside of'

It must to be used in a negative statement (including 없다 and 아니다 etc.)

집에 음식이 조금밖에 없어요.
In the house there is only a little food left.

or 'There is not more than a little food left in the house.'

저는 한국어밖에 할 줄 몰라요.
I can only speak Korean.

or 'I don't know how to speak anything other than Korean.'

한국어 조금밖에 못해요.
(I) can only speak a little bit of Korean.

or 'I can't speak any more than a little Korean.'

제 주머니에는 천원밖에 없어요.
In my pocket there is only a thousand won.

or 'I dont have any more than 1000 won in my pocket.'

사과가 하나밖에 남지 않았어요.
There is only one apple left.

or 'More than one apple does not remain.'

이제 냉장고에 계란이 한두 개밖에 없어요.
Now (I) only have one or two eggs in the refrigerator.

or '..there are not more than one or two eggs...'

책꽂이에 책이 예닐곱 권밖에 없네요.
(I see that) there are only six or seven books on the bookshelf.

or ' there are not more than six or seven books'

운동장에는 아이들이 서너 명밖에 없었어요.
There were only three or four children on the playground.

or ' there are not more than there or four children'

서넛 means 'three or four' and becomes 서너 when used with a counter/classifier like for people.

왜 복숭아가 세 개밖에 남지 않았어요.
Why are there only three peaches left?

or 'Why are there no more than three'

너밖에 없어.
(I) have only you.

or '(I) have nobody but you.'


informal (you) is used

맛있는 케이크를 사려면 미리 주문하는 수밖에 없어요.
If (you) want to buy a delicious cake, (you) have no way (choice) but to order in advance.

means 'a way or method or strategy to handle something'

세영이는 그를 만나지 못하고 돌아올 수밖에 없었어요.
Se-young was unable to meet him and had no choice but to return.
그녀는 처음부터 작업을 다시 할 수밖에 없었죠.
She had no choice but to start over from scratch, didn’t (she).
우리는 희망을 가지는 수밖에 없어요.
We can only have hope.
절망밖에 남지 않았다는 생각은 버리세요.
Stop thinking that (you) have nothing but despair.
한국어는 '안녕하세요'랑 '감사합니다'밖에 몰라요.
(I) can't say anything more than '안녕하세요' and '감사합니다' in Korean.
경찰관 한명밖에 안 왔네요!
Only one policeman came!
한국인 친구는 한 명밖에 없어요.
I have only one Korean friend.
우리 고양이는 참치밖에 안 먹어요.
Our (my) cat only eats tuna.