Asking for and giving permission is important in any language. In Korean, the basic way to ask whether something is allowed and to give permission is to use the grammar pattern -아/어도 되다. Let’s take a look.
The Korean grammar pattern -아/어도 되다 you use to either ask whether something is allowed or to give permission for something. There is little else to it. So you can use it for both the question and the answer, making this a rather easy thing in Korean where sometimes the question and the answer utilize two different grammar patterns.
While -아/어도 되다 is the main form, there are slightly different patterns that express exactly the same. You can use them to mix up your language. Instead of -아/어도 되다, you can also use -아/어도 좋다 or -아/어도 괜찮다. There really isn’t much difference between the three.
가: 사진을 찍어도 됩니까?
나: 죄송합니다. 사진을 찍으면 안 됩니다.
A: May I take pictures?
B: I’m sorry. You aren’t allowed to take pictures.
How To Use
The pattern -아/어도 되다 is a rather simple one to use as long as you follow basic Korean grammar rules. The rule set this pattern follows is the “last vowel” rule. This means you use -아도 되다 when the verb stem’s final syllable contains either ㅏ or ㅗ. If it does not, you simply use -어도 되다. However, keep in mind that for all 하다 verbs, the form is always 해도 되다. Beyond this, there is little else to say when it comes to conjugation.
Remember that you can use the pattern -아/어도 되다 as either a question or an answer. However, if you want to negatively respond, meaning you want to say something is not allowed, you use the pattern -(으)면 안 되다. You do not simply add the negation -지 않다/안 to -아/어도 되다.
Lastly, this pattern is derived from the pattern -아/어도 which we discuss in another article.