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Korean Grammar Bank: -지 않다 And 안
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We already discussed the peculiar Korean grammar aspect known as word negation using the verbs 아니다, 없다 and 모르다. Of course, word negation is but a small aspect of negation in Korean. The most common negation in Korean is using either -지 않다 or its short form, which is simply 안. Let’s take a look at it.

-지 않다

As mentioned the most common form of negation in Korean is using the form -지 않다. In simplest terms is the equivalent of using ‘not’ in English. The form -지 않다, is an expression you append to the verb stem of whatever verb or adjective you want to negate. However, keep in mind you do never do this for the verbs 이다 and 없다 because those verbs always use their negative counterpart 아니다 and 없다 respectively. The verb 알다 (to know, to understand) uses either method, though using its negative counterpart is more common due to its frequent use in grammar.

An example:

가: 오늘 학교에 가요?

나: 아니요, 오늘 일요일이라서 학교에 가지 않아요.

A: Are you going to school today?

B: No, I’m not going to school because today is Sunday.

The form -지 않다 is a long-form hence why it is frequently shorted in daily conversations. Its short form is simply 안 and you simply place it as a standalone word before the conjugated verb you negate. However, keep in mind that for 하다 verbs you need to split its noun part and 하다 up, placing 안 between the both because 안 needs to be next to the conjugated verb. Please keep in mind that 좋아하다 and 싫어하다 are not 하다 verbs and thus you never split them up.

An example:

가: 오늘 도서권에서 공부해요?

나: 아니요, 감기가 나서 공부를 안 해요.

A: Are you studying at the library today?

B: No, because I have a cold, I’m not studying.

While 안 is more common in daily conversation due to its brevity, this does not mean the long-form -지 않다 is never used. -지 않다 is often used to place heavy emphasis on the negation during a conversation.

Also, for formal writing preference is given to the form -지 않다 over the short-form 안.

How To Use

Negative expressions, using either -지 않다 or 안, its short-form, are rather simple in Korean and you needn’t worry over a lot of complicated things. When you use the long-form -지 않다 you simply append it to the verb stem and conjugate 않다 like you would any other verb. Beyond that, there is nothing else to worry over.

When you use 안, the short-form, you simply place it in front of the conjugated verb as a standalone word. The only thing you need to keep in mind with 안 is when you use it with 하다 verbs is that the 안 is always placed before 하다 and the noun part of the 하다 verb is placed in front of the 안. However, be aware that 좋아하다 and 싫어하다 are not 하다 verbs and you never split them up.

Lastly, keep in mind that quite a few grammatical expressions in Korean have their own negative counterpart, like the imperative -(으)세요, which is -지 마세요, and the propositive -(으)ㅂ시다, which is -지 맙시다. They only use their unique negative counterpart. You cannot use -지 않다 or 안.

Korean Grammar Bank Overview: -지 않다 And 안
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Korean Grammar Bank Overview: -지 않다 And 안
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