Episode 19 Lesson Recap

How To Express What Someone Doesn't Do in Korean (Verb Negation)

Key Points &
  • Verb Negation

    •  Generally, simply add ‘' in front of a verb

      • + Verb : do/does not do Verb

    •  The negation of the 이다 ‘to be’ verb  

      • (noun) 아니에요 : (It) is not Noun

    • The negation of 있다 ‘to be present’ or ‘to have’

      • 없다

  • 안 자요 : I don’t sleep

  • 안 일어나요 : I don’t get up

  • 안 씻어요 : I don’t wash

  • 김치 안 먹어요 : I don’t eat kimchi.

  • 커피 안 마셔요 I don’t drink coffee

  • 한국말 공부 안 해요 : I don’t study Korean

  • 일 안 해요 : I don’t work

  • 운동 안 해요 : I don’t exercise

  • 한국 드라마 안 봐요 : I don’t watch Korean dramas

  •  케이팝 안 들어요: I don’t listen to K-pop

  •  학교 안 가요 : I don’t go to school

  •  영어 안 배워요 : I don’t learn English

  •  코딩 안 가르쳐요 : I don’t teach coding

  •  뉴스 안 읽어요 : I don’t read news

  •  친구 안 만나요 I don’t meet friends

  •  액션 영화 안 좋아해요 : I don’t watch action movies

  •  (noun) 아니에요 : It’s not (noun)

  •  (noun) 없어요 : There isn’t (noun); I don’t have (noun)

  •  재미없어요 : It’s not fun; it’s not interesting


Directions: Assume the role in the situations and provide appropriate responses using the verb negation learned in this episode.

1. You just finished lunch with a new colleague at work. He asks if you’d like coffee, but you’re not a coffee drinker.

2. Your colleague asks if you speak English with your housemate. Although your Korena is limited, you and your housemate don't speak English to each other.

3. Your colleagues ask if your housemate is also a K-pop fan as you are. Unlike you, your housemate doesn’t really listen to K-pop.

4. At the company lounge during lunch, your colleague sees a new movie on the cover of a cinema magazine at the table and, knowing you’ve seen the movie, asks if the movie is interesting. It was so boring that you slept the second half of the movie…

5. You’ve decided to just chill at home this weekend. Knowing you always meet friends on weekends, your colleague asks about your plan with friends for this weekend.

6. After learning that you make kimchi, your colleague comments that your housemate is lucky for being able to eat home-made kimchi made by you. Interestingly, your Korean housemate doesn’t eat kimchi.

Episode 19 Transcript

Hello. This is Kay from Essential Korean.com.
안녕하세요, 여러분. Essential Korean 케이쌤입니다


In today’s episode, we’ll learn how to negate verb forms, or more simply how to express what someone doesn’t do. We’ve learned previously how to say what actions we do,  like I eat or I cook, and negating these statements entails learning how to say I don’t eat or  I don’t cook. Thus, instead of the short answer, 아니요, you’ll be able to provide more elaborate answers to the questions that ask if you do certain actions or what you do. 


Are you ready? I’m ready, and excited for today’s lesson :)
Let’s get to work! 


There are two ways to negate a verb in Korean. One is short and simple; the other is a little longer and requires a bit of more work. We’ll tackle the simpler one in this episode. One thing to note here though: The short form can sound more casual and less formal than the other form. But, in daily conversation, this short form we’re going to learn today will be just as good. 


Just don’t be disappointed because it’s too simple!  : 


• We can negate a given verb by placing the prefix before the verb. That's it! 

I’ll run through 10 pairs of verb phrases - one affirmative and the other negative. All verbs will be from the two previous episodes. I will omit the subject in the examples, as in Korean they aren’t always necessary if it’s obvious who is being referred to in the given context. For the English translation, however, I’ll use the pronoun I. 

One more thing. When written, there is a space between the prefix and the verb. But, in speaking, the verb will follow the prefix immediately after so they will sound like one word. I’ll say the negative sentence slowly first and then at a more natural speed so you’ll know what I mean. Please listen and repeat after me:

I sleep: 자요  / I don’t sleep: 안 자요   안 자요

I get up: 일어나요 / I don’t get up:  안 일어나요   안 일어나요

I wash: 씻어요 / I don’t wash:  안 씻어요    안 일어나요

I eat kimchi: 김치 먹어요 / I don’t eat kimchi: 김치 안 먹어요   김치 안 먹어요

I drink coffee: 커피 마셔요 / I don’t drink coffee: 커피 안 마셔요    커피 안 마셔요

I study Korean: 한국말 공부 해요 / I don’t study Korean. 한국말 공부 안 해요    한국말 공부 안 해요

I work: 일 해요 / I don’t work: 일 안 해요   일 안 해요

I exercise: 운동 해요 / I don’t exercise: 운동 안 해요    운동 안 해요

I watch Korean drama: 한국 드라마  봐요 / I don’t watch Korean drama: 한국 드라마 안 봐요    한국 드라마 안 봐요

I listen to k-pop: 케이팝 들어요 / I don’t listen to K-pop:  케이팝 안 들어요    케이팝 안 들어요

(6 New verbs)  go, learn, teach, read, meet, and like

Now, I’d like to introduce 6 new Korean verbs for go, learn, teach, read, meet, and like: 

For go, it’s 가/요.  가요   가요   가요.

For learn, it’s 배/워/요. 배워요  배워요  배워요.

For teach, it’s 가/르/쳐/요.  가르쳐요   가르쳐요   가르쳐요.

For read, it’s 읽/어/요.  읽어요   읽어요   읽어요.

For meet, it’s 만/나/요.  만나요   만나요   만나요

For like, it’s 좋/아/ 해/요.  좋아해요   좋아해요   좋아해요.

Now, I’ll say an affirmative sentence once and its negative counterpart twice with these verbs:

I go to school: 학교 가요 / I don’t go to school: 학교 안 가요   학교 안 가요.

I learn English: 영어 배워요 / I don't learn English:  영어 안 배워요    영어 안 배워요

I teach coding: 코딩 가르쳐요 / I don’t teach coding: 코딩 안 가르쳐요    코딩 안 가르쳐요

I read the news: 뉴스 읽어요 / I don’t read the news:  뉴스 안 읽어요    뉴스 안 읽어요

I meet friends: 친구 만나요 / I don’t meet friends: 친구 안 만나요    친구 안 만나요

I like action movies: 액션 영화 좋아해요 / I don’t like action movies: 액션 영화 안 좋아해요    액션 영화 안 좋아해요 


Ok, so we did some drills. How about we practice using the verbs learned in the conversations? 

Situation 1: Let’s assume you were talking with me, Kay ,  about the division of labor between you and your roommate. I ask you if your roommate cooks, 요리해요? Does your roommate cook? How would you answer if your roommate doesn’t cook and she or he doesn’t like cooking. 

There’s no need for the subject 룸메이트 to be said because it’s understood clearly in the context, but you can choose to say it in one of the sentences. Putting in both sentences may make it sound redundant though. Listen to the sentences with or without the subject: 


요리 안 해요   요리 안 좋아해요. or 룸메이트 요리 안 해요   요리 안 좋아해요. or 요리 안 해요   룸메이트 요리 안 좋아해요.

Situation 2: Colleagues at lunch are talking about tuning into the radio these days. One of them asks if you listen to the radio:  라디오 들어요? How would you answer if you don’t listen to the radio; you listen to podcasts.   

You’d say, 라디오 안 들어요   팟캐스트 들어요.

Situation 3:  A colleague who is working on a project and meeting the deadline with you calls and asks if you’re working on the project: 프로젝트 해요? You happened to be having dinner. What would you say? 

There are a few ways to respond. To emphasize today’s learning points, I’d suggest this: 아니요, 프로젝트 안 해요. 지금 저녁 먹어요. No, I’m not doing the project. I’m having dinner right now. 

Situation 4:  Your school is closed for a special event. You run into your neighbor on the street who asks, 학교 가요? How would you answer if you’re actually on the way to meet your friend? Think and say your answer out loud.
You can first tell your neighbor you’re not going to school: 학교 안 가요.  And then you can say you’re meeting friends: 친구 만나요.

So the conversation would go like this:
A: 학교 가요?

B: 아니요, 학교 안 가요. 친구 만나요.

How are we doing so far? So far so good? 

I want to discuss 2 more verbs, 이다 and 있다, and their negative counterparts as they take different forms. 

Noun+이다  & 있다 (and their negative counterparts)

Let’s say your colleague asks if the cell phone on the desk is Susan’s phone: 수잔 씨 핸드폰이에요? If you know it is NOT Susan’s phone, what would you say? Yes, we learned this. You’d say, 수잔 씨 핸드폰 아니에요. The verb 아니에요 is NOT composed of the prefix and 이에요. The verb 아니에요 is derived from 아니다 which means to not be and its informal polite form is the 4-syllable word, 아니에요. In fact, you can’t place the negative infix in front of the verb 이에요. There simply is no such form. In short, the negative counterpart of the verb to be, 예요 and 이에요 is 아니에요.  

The next verb is 있다.  This verb is similar to the 이다 verb in that its negative counterpart is not formed by having 안 before the verb but is a distinctly separate verb, 없다. I’ll ask you if you have time: 시간 있어요? If you don’t, you should say 아니요, 시간 없어요, not 시간 안 있어요. The sentence 시간 안 있어요 just wouldn’t sound right because people don’t negate the verb 있어요 with 안 있어요, at least not normally. So, again, the negative counterpart of the verb 있다 is 없다, not 안 있다. If you don’t have something, you’d say 없어요

Here is an expansion question. If I tell you that 재미있다 means to be fun or to be interesting in Korean, and you can say 재미있어요 to mean  It’s interesting or It’s fun, how would you say It’s not interesting or it’s not fun in Korean? It’d be 재미없어요, NOT 재미 안 있어요.

Please remember to separate these two verbs 이다 and 있다 from other verbs for the negative form and use 아니다 and 없다 respectively for their negative counterpart verbs. 


Let’s now make short dialogues. Imagine the following situations. 

Situation 5: You and your colleague have been trying to reach your client, but his line has been busy all day. When you called the client again, your colleague next to you asks, 통화 중이에요? In this context, your colleague is asking if the line is busy. In the last episode, we learned that 통화 중이에요 means be in the middle of a call right? You now know it can also mean, the line is busy, depending on context. How would you respond to your colleague’s questions,  통화 중이에요?, if the line is no longer busy and is ringing?

Yes, you can say, 아니요, 통화 중 아니에요, And also add, 신호 가요. 신호 means signal and 가요, as learned earlier means, go. In the context of phone calls, it’s used when you, the caller, has your call connecting and you’re waiting for the other to pick up.  Repeat after me:
신호 가요.   신호 가요.   신호 가요

Let’s imagine another situation. (Situation 6): You’re watching a movie at home. Your roommate comes home, sees you watching the movie, and asks: 영화 재미있어요? 영화 is a movie in Korean,  so your housemate is asking if the movie is interesting: 영화 재미있어요? 

How would you respond if you find the movie boring?  You’d say 아니요, 재미없어요. No, it’s not interesting. Or, you can add 별로 before 재미없어요 to mean it’s not THAT interesting: 아니요, 별로 재미 없어요.  아니요, 별로 재미 없어요.  아니요, 별로 재미 없어요. 

Next situation. (Situation 7) : Your housemate sees a cellphone on the dining table. Knowing the other housemate Susie often misplaces her cell phone and looks for it around the house, pointing at the cell phone, he asks: 수지 씨 핸드폰이에요? Is it Susie’s cell phone? You and Susie have the same cell phone model, and even similar black cases, making it easy to mistake one’s case for the others. Correct your housemate’s assumption and tell him it is your cell phone. … Was your response 아니요, 수지 씨 핸드폰 아니에요. 내 핸드폰이에요. No, it’s not Susie’s cell phone. It is my cell phone. 

Now, it’s the last situation for today’s episode, Situation 8: You and your housemates are looking at the course catalog of the city’s Culture Center for the new term and talking about what they’re learning. Knowing you took a coding class last term, Susie asks if you’re learning coding again this term: 코딩 배워요?  How would you respond if you’re not doing the coding class this term but actually teaching English at the center? That’s right! You can say, 

아니요, 코딩 안 배워요. 저 영어 가르쳐요!  No, I don’t learn coding; I teach English! 

아니요, 코딩 안 배워요. 저 영어 가르쳐요. 

아니요, 코딩 안 배워요. 저 영어 가르쳐요. 


Well, we’re done for situational Korean for today. How was the lesson? I hope you will come back to this episode soon and listen again for more practice. Please do not get frustrated if you can’t quite recall the verbs from this and previous episodes. You’ve in fact been introduced to quite a few verbs over the past three or so episodes. Just remember that repetition is key and so is active learning when it comes to gaining proficiency in a new language.  Trust me you will get it, in due time, with practice. Enjoy the journey and stay on course! I will connect with you again with a new lesson soon. Until then, stay healthy!  고맙습니다. 안녕히 계세요 ~