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안 vs 지 않다 and 못 vs ㄹ 수 없다

안녕하세요 여러분~ Today we'll learn one of the most important things you can learn for the Korean language and that is making negative sentences otherwise referred to as "negating". Basically any sentences that include things like, "not" "can't" "don't".



Today We’ll Go Over:

~ 아니다 (opposite of 이다) = to not be

~없다 (opposite of 있다) = not exist, not have

~안 & 지 않다 = not, don’t + their difference

~ 못 & 지 못하다 = can’t do

~(으)ㄹ 수 없다 (opposite of ㄹ 수 있다)

= can’t & differences to grammar above

~ 지 마세요 (opposite of 세요) = don’t do it



Disclaimer: I suggest you learn the counterparts/opposites first to make this lesson easier to understand and more useful.



아니다 - to not be

usage: the most basic way to identify that people and objects are not something.


Form: [Noun]이/가 아니다


conjugation forms:

아닙니다 (formal)

아니에요 (polite)

아니야 (informal)

아니였어요 (past - polite)



Example:

이것은 내 것이 아니다

This is not mine.


진이 학생이 아닙니다.

Jin is not a student.


그날 당신이 본 사람은 제가 아니고 제 여동생입니다.

I wasn't the one you saw that day. It was my little sister



없다 - to not have, to not exist

usage: this can be translated a few ways, and thr most common ways are “there isn’t” & “to not have”.


Form: [Noun]이/가 없다/있다

재미있다(be fun) -> 재미없다 (not fun)

맛있다(delicious) -> 맛없다(not delicious)



Examples:

한국 친구가 없어요.

I don’t have a Korean friend. (to not have a friend)


저는 지금 집에 없어요.

I’m not at home now (to not be at home)


제 방에 티비가 없어요.

There isn’t a tv in my room. (to not exist or to not be)



안 V + 지 않다 - not, don’t

usage: these 2 mean the same things and are used interchangeably most of the time. although 지 않다 can seem a bit more formal. It’s translated as not or don’t.


the short form is 안 + verb/adjective

the longer form is verb/adjective + 지 않다



Examples:

저는 학교에 안 가요.

저는 학교에 가지 않아요.

I do not go to school.

When using the longer form, you should only conjugate the end -지 않다.



NOTE: You couldn’t say 저는 집에 안 있어요 though, you would just use 없다 here.

If a verb is ‘noun+하다‘ such as 공부하다/일하다/숙제하다/운동하다/수영하다, the negation ‘안’ occurs between the noun and 하다.



Examples:

공부 안 하다 - don’t study

운동 안 하다 - don’t exercise

숙제 안 하다 - don’t do homework



못 V + 지 못하다 - can’t do


usage: 못 is also a negation adverb like 안, but it is usually used for verbs because it means ‘cannot’. And like 안 it goes right before the verb.



Examples:

학교에 못 가요.

I can’t go to school.


집에 텔레비전이 없어요. 그래서 그 프로그램을 못 봐요. I don’t have a TV at home, so I can’t watch that program.



지 못하다 is a long form for 못.

못 is used in front of verbs while -지 못하다 is used at the end of verbs. And -지 못하다 is a little bit formal than 못.


Example:

학교에 가지 못해요.

I can’t go to school.


시간이 없었어요. 그래서 숙제를 끝내지 못했어요.

I didn’t have time. So I couldn’t finish my homework.



Because 못 means ‘cannot’, it can be switched with ‘-(으)ㄹ 수 없다


ㄹ 수 없다 - can’t

usage: 으)ㄹ 수 있다/없다 has two meanings, which are ‘ability’ and ‘possibility’. It can be translated ‘can/can not’ in English.



못 vs ㄹ 수 없다:


ㄹ 수 없다 gives more of a feeling that you physically cannot do something, but 못 is just that you can’t do something (for whatever reason). Largely they are interchangeable, so don’t worry too much,


Example:

그 사람은 한국어를 말할 수 없어요.

That person can’t speak Korean. (They literally do not have the ability to speak Korean)


돈이 없어서 살 수 없어요.

I don’t have money, so I can’t buy it. (I physically don’t have money, so I am unable to buy something)



-지 마세요 - Don’t do

Usage: Used to give a negative command. This can be translated as “don’t do” in English


You can’t use 지 않다 or 안 if you want to tell someone NOT to DO something. This grammar is used for making commands only. For informal form, remove 세요.


Example:

학교에 가지 마세요.

Please don’t go to school.


너무 많이 먹지 마!

Don’t eat too much!

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