In a previous article, we discussed how you can express what you can do or what is possible with -(으)ㄹ 수 있다. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can express whether or not you know how to do something. How you express you have the knowledge to do something. It is very similar, yet different. Let’s take a look.
-(으)ㄹ 줄 알다
Expressing what you can do or what you know how to do are two very similar things, but depending on the situation the question will be one or the other. In the end, however, -(으)ㄹ 수 있다 and this article’s -(으)ㄹ 줄 알다 are near identical in the message they convey: You are capable of performing a certain task. The focus of -(으)ㄹ 줄 알다 on whether you know how to do something, whereas -(으)ㄹ 수 있다 focusses on whether you can. It is a slight difference in nuance, but oftentimes the end result is the same.
가: 딸기잼을 만들 줄 안가요?
나: 네, 그리고 다양한 잼을 만들 줄 알아요.
A: Do you know how to make strawberry jam?
B: Yes, and I know how to make a variety of jam
-(으)ㄹ 줄 모르다
As mentioned in the article on word negation, the negative of -(으)ㄹ 줄 알다 utilizes the negative verb 모르다, -(으)ㄹ 줄 모르다. As you can probably guess it expresses you do not know how to perform a certain action. Furthermore, like its positive brother, it is very similar to the pattern -(으)ㄹ 수 없다, but with a focus on knowing how to do something.
가: 편지를 한국어로 쓰세요.
나: 미안하지만 한국어로 쓸 줄 몰라요.
A: Please write a letter in Korean.
B: I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to write Korean.
How To Use
Like it’s brother -(으)ㄹ 수 있다/없다, -(으)ㄹ 줄 알다/모르다 is rather easy to use. You simply need to take the verb stem and follow the ‘batchim/no batchim’ rules. When the verb stem ends in a vowel, you use -ㄹ 줄 알다/모르다. However, when it ends in a consonant you use -을 줄 알다/모르다. Of course, you will still need to conjugate either 알다 or 모르다, both of which are Korean irregular verbs, ㄹ irregular verb and 르 irregular verb, respectively.
Lastly, do keep in mind that this pattern is more limited than -(으)ㄹ 수 있다/없다. You can use -(으)ㄹ 수 있다/없다 to express either you can do something or something is possible. The latter, however, you cannot express with -ㄹ 줄 알다/모르다. You can just use it to express whether you know how to do something.