Expressing obligations and telling people to do something is all fine and dandy, but you also need to be able to ask if you may do something. Luckily there is a Korean grammar expression just around the corner for that. Today’s grammar pattern is -아/어도 되다. This pattern will do just the trick. Let’s take a look.

May -아/어도 되다

The expression -아/어도 되다 is an awesome Korean grammar pattern. Not only can you use it to express permission or approval, but you can also use it to ask for permission or approval. When you translate a sentence with this pattern, you would translate it as “may” or “be allowed to”. Let us look at an example.

Example: 에어컨을 켜도 돼요?

Translation: 아니요, 켜지 마세요.

How To Use

While the form might seem complicated, it isn’t just like that scary-looking -아/어야 되다/하다. Perhaps you have already noticed, but -아/어도 되다 also follows the same basic principles you’ve seen for the present tense. This means you need to look at the verb stem, more specifically the vowels in it. The rules are:

  1. If the verb stem contains ㅏ or ㅗ, you use -아도 되다.
  2. If not, you use -어도 되다.
  3. For 하다 verbs, the form you use, is 해도 되다.

That isn’t too hard, right? By the way this Korean grammar expression is not limited to just verbs, you can also use it with adjectives. Keep in mind some irregular verbs for this pattern, such as the ㅡ irregular verbs.

There is a slight side note to make on this verb pattern. You aren’t limited to just using -아/어도 되다 as there are other verbs you can use instead of 되다. You can just as easily use -아/어도 괜찮다 or -아/어도 좋다 without any difference in meaning. That lets you spice things up, no?

Demands and Permissions: -아/어도 되다
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A short overview on -아/어도 되다