Long Negatives

Previously, I have posted the use of prefixes 안 (an) and 못(mot) to negate a verb.   When i was reading the book on this lesson, it says that there is another way to negate verb which is called long negatives.  This is done using the following:

  • plain base+지 않아요 or
  • plain base+지 못해요

To illustrate how this is done below are examples:

Q: 기타를 치세요?
Kitareul chiseyo?
Do you play guitar?

A: 아니오, 기타를 치지 못해요
Aniyo, kitareul chiji mothaeyo
No, I don’t know how to play guitar.

Q: 한나 씨, 언니가 결혼했어요?
Hannashi, unnika kyeolhonhaessoyo?
Hanna, is you sister married?

A: 아니오, 언니는 결하지 않아요.
Aniyo, unnineun kyeolhaji anhayo.
No, my sister is not married.

So long negative form uses suspective form of verb. 

Unlike the short negative, 못 occurs both in descriptive and processive verbs.  In short negative 못 cannot be used with descriptive verb so  못 좋아요 (mot chuayo – does not like) cannot occur 좋다 being a descriptive verb. However, this can be said 좋지 못해요 (choji mothaeyo).

Below is a comparison of short and long negative form of verb, the only difference between these two is that the long negative is already a phrase.

Base Meaning Short Negative Long Negative Past Tense
read 안 읽어요 읽지 않아요 읽지 않았어요
come 안 와요 오지 않아요 오지 않았어요
write 안 써요 쓰지 않아요 쓰지 않았어요
심심하 feel bored 안 심심해요 심심하지 않아요 심심하지 않았어요

Short negatives is not commonly used when verb has 3 or more syllables, long negative form is more approriate to use. As such, the word above in red is not likely to occur. Short negative is not likely used as well for complex verb form such as -고 싶.  Therefore 안먹고 싶어요 (anmokko shipoyo – doesn’t want to eat) is an awkward expression, this is rather expressed as 먹고 싶지 않아요 (mokko shipji anhayo).

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2 Replies to “Long Negatives”

  1. Im interested to learn korean, 🙂 Actually, im in the process learning hangul. 🙂 Please translate my name in korean Lorie Ann Sadac, in Romanization and Hangul. Kamsahamnida. ^^

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