One of my students wrote me about her English test coming up. She wrote “*쌤을 바서라두 해야하는데. . .”

I was completely unfamiliar with this grammatical/idiomatic construction — but fortunately there there were some very kind people at lang-8 who explained it to me!

It’s short for ‘선생님의 채면을 봐서라도’ so the above sentence my student wrote could be translated as: 선생님의 체면을 봐서라도 해야하는데. . .

Normally I would have assumed that ‘서라도’ would be translated as even/if. However it seems that this construction is best understood as ‘if only for/because’. The ‘for/because’ part of this construction is crucial for understanding this idiom.

Thus my student’s sentence translated in English would be ‘I ‘should’ do this out of respect for you” or perhaps more colloquially in English as “Thinking of you makes me want to do this.”

Googling for more examples I came up with:
내얼굴 봐서라도 참아. Please bear it out of respect form me./For my sake please bear it.
내 채면을 봐서라도 욕하지 마 Out of respect for me, don’t speak badly (욕).
내 체면을 봐서라도 용서해 주시오 Out of respect for me please forgive me.

It’s cool finding out something new without even trying to study just by living day-by-day immersed in Korean. I’m definitely not going to forget this grammatical point soon. 🙂