While we all love our freedom to do what we want, society has rules and those rules limit what we can do. Sometimes you need to inform others they are not allowed to do something and in Korean, you use -(으)면 안 되다 for this. Let’s take a look at it.
-(으)면 안 되다
-(으)면 안 되다 is an important Korean grammar pattern. You can use this single pattern to express a prohibition of or a limitation on certain actions or states. This is important because different countries and cultures have different don’ts and through this pattern, you can know the Korean don’ts. You can of course also inform Koreans of the don’ts in your culture and country.
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.
-지 않으면 안 되다
Like in many Western languages, double negations are not that common in Korean. However, you can freely use a double negation with the pattern -(으)면 안 되다, which often is -지 않으면 안 되다. Of course, as you can expect the meaning is the opposite of the original. When you use the double negative, you emphasize that a particular behaviour must be performed. You emphasize an obligation through this double negative. In a certain way, this form is a stronger version of -아/어댜 하다/되다.
가: 사찰 안에 조용하지 않으면 안 되요.
A: You have to be quiet in the temple.
How To Use
The conjugation with -(으)면 안 되다 is very simple if you already know how to do so for -(으)면. The rules are the same and thus this pattern follows the ‘batchim/no batchim’ rule’. This means that when the verb stem ends in a vowel (=no batchim), you use -면 안 되다. If it does not end in a vowel (=batchim), you use the form -으면 안 되다. Of course, keep your Korean irregular verbs in mind. Irregular verb groups like -ㄹ irregular verbs and ㅅ irregular verbs like to play rough with these kinds of patterns.