Level 1 Lesson 21 / Negative Sentences / 안, -지 않다, 안 하다, 하지 않다

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In this lesson, we are introducing how to form negative sentences in Korean. In Korean you can either add the word ‘안[an]’ before a verb or conjugate the verb into a negative form by using the verb ending ‘지 않다[ji an-ta]’ Find out how to do that and also practice with some sample sentences by listening to this lesson and as always, if you have any questions or feedback, we will be more than happy to hear them in the comment box!

Everyone, what do you NOT do? 뭐 안 해요?

Read about this grammar point at the Korean Wiki Project site

You can download a free PDF for this lesson here, or if you want to study with our TalkToMeInKorean textbooks, you can get them here. And after you learn the basics, try writing your own Korean sentences and get corrections from native speakers through HaruKorean, our 1:1 correction service.

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  • Liezl Mandap

    한국어는 어렵지만 재미있어요

  • Tom Marder

    From reading the examples (아파요? – Does it hurt?) I conclude that ‘아파다’ means ‘to hurt’. But when I looked it up in a dictionary I only found that ‘아프다’ means ‘to hurt’. So I am curious if both are correct?

    • Cha

      Hello, Tom ssi! I think 아파요 is the conjugation of 아프다; that 아파요 is in the present tense. Maybe you can check Level 1 Lesson 16. Hope it helps. :)

  • Cha

    안녕하세요, 선생님! I’m just curious. Why can’t 안 있어요 be used? Or it can be used but is unnatural to do so because there’s an opposite word–없어요–for it? 감사합니다! :)

  • Colton Hennick

    Are there any spelling rules for the infinitives: 아프다 & 맵다? (To hurt/be painful) & (To be spicy)

    Or are they just irregular and we have to memorize them?

    Thank you very much!

  • rosa

    Hi, I would like to know what 선현우 said after he learnt that it was a joke that 안효진 did not shower. I just heard this so many time in korean drama. Thanks in advance !! Such a great platform for korean self-lerning!!

  • Svea

    오늘 안자요. 시간은 없어요.

  • Lizzytfd

    I have a question.
    What about the question “이거 매워요?”

    Why did you add to the noun? why didn’t you write 이거 매워해요?
    I’m sorry, I’m a little confused. I swear 바보아니에요 >.<

  • Lizzytfd

    why does “매워” ends with “요” in this case?

    • 애슐리

      I think that it’s because korean adjectif are conjugated like verbs

  • Paradise

    안녕하세요! well I tryed to say I don’t eat at home but i’m not sure if it’s correct , anyway here’s my sentence: 집에 안 먹어요(1st method) 집에 먹지 않아요(2nd method) I hope it’s correct:) .Thank you already !
    감사합니다 !

    • Seokjin Jin

      The action of eating is done in the house, so it is good to say “집에서 안 먹어요”.

    • Paradise

      ok ,I was confused wether I say 집에 or 집에서 ,you made it clear now so thank you very much for correcting me . 감사합니다 !

  • Brianne

    I like how u guys make the lessons fun by joking around n’ stuff. It makes learning more relaxing! I was laughing the whole time xD

    • Seokjin Jin

      It will be best if you learn something while you are enjoying it. :)

      Thanks for your comment.

  • http://twitter.com/jetz531 jetz

    I have a question about one of the sample sentences:

    그거 아직 안 버렸어요. [geu-geo a-jik an beo-ryeo-sseo-yo] I DIDN’T throw it away yet

    Shouldn’t it be translated to “I haven’t thrown it yet”? Cause 버렸어요 is past tense. I think “I DIDN’T throw it away yet” is 그거 아직 안 버려요.

    • Seokjin Jin

      Well, “didn’t” was used, so it is still past tense so it can be translated as 그거 아직 안 버렸어요.

      Regarding the sentence “I haven’t thrown it yet”, it is the present complete tense. In Korean, it is quite subtle to differentiate the tenses. If I translated it in Korean, I would say “그거 아직 안 버렸어요” too.

    • http://twitter.com/jetz531 jetz

      I see. Thank you very much!

  • 애슐리

    난 내일이 학교에 가지 않아요

    • Seokjin Jin

      You should choose if you will make the sentence in a casual form or polite form. 난 is a casual form but 않아요 is polite form. When the forms are mixed, it looks weird. :)

      난 내일 학교에 가지 않아 or 전 내일 학교에 가지 않아요

    • 애슐리

      Ah yes! 맞아요! I didnt even realise x)

  • 애슐리

    why its 배 안 고파요?It’s not supposed to be 안 배고파 ? … :(

    • Seokjin Jin

      Actually, both sentences are okay. Regarding 배 안 고파요, 배 and 고파요 are
      seperated. 배 works as a subject and 고파요 works as an adjective. However,
      배고파요 in the latter sentence, it is regarded as a adjective.

  • 애슐리

    Why singers say “하지마 ” like “미안해 하지마 ” ? whats that?

    • hillary

      Dont be sorry

    • Alyssa Jane Lescano

      Lels. Taeyang’s Eyes, Nose, Lips? :D

  • hillary

    Do i have to pay to have the account to download the pdf file? It seems as if I do.

  • Angella Elf

    안녕하세요. First of all, I’d like to thank you for your lessons because they’re really great and clear ! ^^ I’m French and I don’t speak English fluently but I’ve understood all your lessons so far ! ^^ Anyway, I’d like to ask my Korean penfriends “Have you gone to school yet ?”, is my sentence correct if I say :

    아직 학교에 가요 ?

    감사합니다 ! =)

  • MadMads

    Does this work?
    김치를 안 먹었어요 = I did not eat Kimchi
    I know the object particle is too much, I just did it for practice.

    • Seokjin Jin

      Yes. It is correct! Good job.

  • Julie

    Hello, everyone. I want to say thanks for this site and lessons. It’s really intresting. 너무 재미있어요! 정말 감사합니다.
    And I have a question about -고 싶어요. For example 먹고 싶어요. If I want to say “I don’t want to eat” should I say 먹고 안싶어요? Cause if I say 안먹고 싶어요 doesn’t it “I want not to eat but smth else”? Thank you for attention.

    • Seokjin Jin

      First of all, we say 안 먹고 싶어요 but not 먹고 안 싶어요.

      In this case, I think we regard the phrase “먹고 싶어요” as a verb so 안 was added before it.

  • Daniella Bohler

    To say “I don’t want to watch TV” would it be 텔에비전 안 보고싶어요 ? or would 안 come before 텔에비전?

    • Seokjin Jin

      텔레비전 안 보고 싶어요 is correct. :)

  • Eugene Tan You Qing

    is this sentence phrased correctly? iam not too sure if the word suyeong is placed correctly:(

    Ryan ssi neun jeo suyeong bo da deo jal haeyo

    what iam trying to say: ryan is better than me at swimming

  • Chong Ying Fang

    annyeong ! may i know the verb for “to know” and the opposite “do not know” ? since it´s mentioned at the end of the lesson but not provided in the pdf ? kamsahamnida !

  • Jordan Lent

    Thanks for the great lessons!!! I have a question. The first two dialogues have different ways of saying “really?”. Dialogue one says 진짜안아파요? and dialogue 2 says 정말안먹어요?

    Could I say 진짜안먹어요? and 정말안아파요?


  • avit

    안녕하세요! first of all, thank you for all the lessons. it helps me a lot!
    i have 2 questions about this lesson:
    1. if 배 안 고파요 means ” i’m not hungry” so how do i say “i am hungry” ?
    2. can someone write me the special words that doesnt follow the rule of negative sentences? ( exists and to know )

    and –
    지금 저는 안 자고 싶어요 !

    (i hope i dont have mistakes. if i do, correct me plz :-) )

    • Seokjin Jin

      “i am hungry” = 배 고파요.
      Hm… I don’t know what to say for the second question. The sentence doesn’t come up in my head now. :s

    • jennifer

      Hi Seokjin, it is said in the PDF that 안 goes before the verb. In the case of 배 고파요, is 고파요 a verb then? it doesn’t end with 다 though..thank you!

    • Jacko

      The verb to be hungry is 배고프다. When conjugating, the ㅡ is changed to a ㅏ and since it is changed to 배고파 adding 아 would be needed. It is already implied I guess. Therefore add the 요 for politeness and there you go.

      In all cases I believe that 안 would before 배고파요.
      I don’t know why there is a separation between 배 and 고파요 but Seokjin is probably correct there so write it that way. In any case though I think it is fine. If It helps you understand to put 안 in front then that is good.

    • Jacko

      My bad. I was tired typed wrong. It is 배 안 고파요.

    • jennifer

      Thanks Jacko, but it is actually explained in the next lesson that 안 goes in between HA and the rest of the verb. so i believe in this case specifically 안 is squeeze in between 배고 and파요..

  • Lisa

    A: 아까 밥 안 억었어요.
    B: 왜요?
    A: 배 안 고팠어요.
    B: 그럼 지금 라면 먹고 십어요?
    A: 아니오. 아마 나중에.
    Are the sentences correct? 감사암니다 ^^

    • ks

      I think you meant 아까 밥 안 먹었어요 instead of 아까 밥 안 억었어요.
      also, 십어요 is actually 싶어요.

      아니오. 아마 나중에 sounds really weird, i think what you were trying to say is 안니요. 엄마 나중에, which still is pretty weird lol whatever

      grammar should be correct, just minor spelling mistakes

  • ks

    저는 오늘 학교 안 가았어요 = I didn’t go to school today

    im not sure if this is right, doesnt seem right to me.

    • jennifer

      i would say 저는 학교에 안 갔어요

  • jennifer

    can i say 안 일했어요 for “i didn’t work”? Can i say 사무실 안 갔어요 for ‘I didn’t go to the office’? thanks!

    • jennifer

      isn’t it 일 안 했어요 instead..? thanks

    • ricko

      an irl hess su yo is correct.
      irl ha da is the verb stem.

  • Serenity Maria

    I’m curious how do you say ‘not my style’

    • Bre

      나의 스타일 아니야, (na-ui style ani-ya), but that’s informal. Idk how to say it formally lol

    • Serenity Maria


    • Bre

      네 (^-^)

    • Rowena Frith

      내 스타일 아니야 (nae seu-ta-il a-ni-ya)
      how kris says it in showtime :D

    • Bre

      Ummm….Lol I’ve never seen that show or Kris? But hey, i learned something new (^-^)

    • Alyssa Jane Lescano

      LOL. I truly understand you. EXO-L, yo! ♥

  • rochim hidayah

    안녕하세요 ?선생님 이 설명은 맞아요?
    예를들면  김치 드세요.
    1 고마운데 저는 김치는 안 먹어요.
    2 고마운데 저는 김지는 먹지 않습니다.
    1에 경우는 뭔가 사정이 있어서 지금은 안 먹는다는 뜻이고,
    2에 경우엔 저는 보통 김치는 먹지는 않는다는 뜻이라고 한데요.

    대답해 주셨으면 좋겠어요^^

  • cf

    오늘 안잤어요

    which should translate to “today i did not sleep”, is this correct?

  • Kaiteee

    If I wanted to say I don’t want to do something would it be something like:
    이거안먹고싶어요. I don’t want to eat this.

  • VoldiPhil

    햄버거 ㅏㄴ먼어요.

    • Seokjin Jin

      >> 햄버거 안 먹어요.

  • faiza

    저는 일본어 알지 않아요

    반가워요 혀진 언니

    • Seokjin Jin

      It is natural to say “저는 일본어 몰라요.”

    • faiza

      정말 고마워요
      but it’s correct when we say :저는 일본어 알지 않아요
      isn’t it ??
      thanks for helping

  • WAFA


    I want to ask a question.

    In this lesson 21, in the second short dialog, the negative form of the verb 배고프다 was 배 안 고파요 and not 안 배고파요 in the present tense, according to the rule . Is this an exception?

    And also, according to my english studies, the negative form of the infinitif form verbs in english language is “ex: Not to go” we can’t separate “to” and “go” and say “to not go”, it’s incorrect.