Negating a Verb – The Short Form

I just learned how to form a negative verb…the short way and i am just about to find out how is it done the long way.  These words easily turn verb into negative:

  • 안 (an…)  – this is derived from the word 아니오 (ani-o) or 아니 (a-ni)
  • 못 (mot…) yes its mot not ‘mos’ while ㅅ is equivalent to the sound of letter s, when its a final consonant it is not released (swallowed as the book says) so its sound is ㅌor ‘t’ instead.  However if its followed by a verb that start with i or y sound then it is pronounced at niy or nny.

So how is 안 different from  못? the first one simply means none, not and the latter tends to be more emphatic as in cannot, not possible or absolutely cannot.  Example:

  • 잘 안 자요 (jal an jayo) – means not able to sleep well
  • 잘 못 자요 (jal mot jayo) – means cannot sleep well

From the example above you will notice that this words are placed immediately before the verb regardless if the verb is formed by adding ~하.  So you won’t say 좋아 안해요 (chuha anhaeyo –> if you want to say don’t like) instead it should be 안 좋아해요 (an chuahaeyo).

The example below sets the difference in tone of the statement as you use 안 or 못.

  • 커피를 안 마셰요 (kopi-reul an masyo-yo) this means ‘don’t drink coffee’
  • 커피를 못 마셰요 (kopi-reul mot masyo-yo) would mean ‘ can’t drink coffee’

The first states the person is not drinking the coffee while the second one is more applicable when one cannot drink coffee simply because the person is not allowed or does not like coffee.

Another difference is that 못 cannot be used before a descriptive verb like 예쁜 (yeppeun which means pretty), 기쁜 (gippeun which means glad or pleased), etc. 


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