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2 Ways to Say, “Don’t…” in Korean Posted by on Aug 29, 2018 in Grammar, Korean Language, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

I often talk to a group of friends who lived in foreign countries and enjoy listening to their experiences of living abroad. Over the years, I learned that one of the survival phrases they learned quickly was “Don’t…” in different languages. I believe learning how to say, “Don’t…” in Korean will become useful when you travel to Korea or simply try to understand K-dramas. In this post, I will explain how to say, “Don’t…” in two different ways in Korean.

There are several ways to compose negative sentences in the Korean language. As I explained in an ealier post, “Like or Don’t Like in Korean”, especially in colloquial Korean, you can simply turn a positive statement into a negative one by adding  “안 ”  to a verb or to an adjective.

  1. 좋아해요 [jo-ah-hae-yo] : a polite form of the verb ‘like’ in Korean

   ex) 저는 커피를 좋아해요. :  I like  coffee.  –  Polite

         [jeo-neun keo-pee-reul jo-ah-hae-yo]

  1.  + 좋아해요  [ahn jo-ah hae-yo] : don’t like

  ex) 저는 커피를   좋아해요.  :   I don’t like  coffee.  –  Polite

                [jeo-neun keo-pee-reul ahn jo-ah-hae-yo]

  1. 비싸요  [bee-ssa-yo] : a polite form of the adjective ‘ expensive’

   ex) 신발이 비싸요.  :   Shoes are expensive.  –  Polite

         [shin-bal-ee bee-ssa-yo] 

  1.  + 비싸요 :  not expensive –  Polite

  ex) 신발이  비싸요. :  Shoes are not expensive.– Polite

         [shin-bal-ee ahn bee-ssa-yo] 

Photo by KLM

The following explanations refer to how to say negative imperative forms, “Don’t + Verb” in Korean: Knowing how to say “지 마세요” and  “,”  will be useful when you need to request or command someone not to do something in Korean.

  • “-지 마세요”  [-ji ma-seo-yo]  is the polite form of “Don’t + Verb” in Korean
  • “-지 마”  [-ji ma]  is the casual from of “Don’t + Verb” in Korean. Simply drop the ending,  “세요” from the polite form, “마세요.”

Here are some essential phrases, using Don’t +Verb” in Korean.

  1. 하지 마세요.  [ha-ji ma-se-yo]  :  Don’t do (it/this/that.), please.   –   polite
  2. 하지 마 .  [ha-ji ma]  :  Don’t do (it/this/that.)   –   casual
  3. 걱정하지 마세요.  [geok-jeong-ha-ji  ma-se-yo]  :  Don’t worry, please   –   polite
  4. 걱정하지 마  [geok-jeong-ha-ji  ma] = 걱정마  [geok-jeong ma]  :  Don’t worry.    –   casual
  5. 기다리지 마세요.  [gi-da-ri-ji  ma-se-yo]  :   Don’t wait, please.  –   polite
  6. 기다리지 마.  [gi-da-ri-ji  ma]  :  Don’t wait.  –   casual
  7. 울지 마세요.  [wool-ji  ma-se-yo]  :  Don’t cry, please.  –   polite
  8. 울지 마.  [wool-ji  ma ]  :  Don’t cry.  – casual
  9. 말하지 마세요.   [mal-ha-ji ma-se-yo]  :  Don’t speak, please. – polite
  10. 말하지 마.  [mal-ha-ji  ma]  : Don’t speak. – casual
  11. 가지 마세요.  [ga-ji  ma-se-yo]  : Don’t go, please.  –  polite
  12. 가지 마.  [ga-ji  ma]  :  Don’t go  –  casual
  13. 웃지 마세요.   [woot-ji  ma-se-yo]  :  Don’t laugh, please.  – polite
  14. 웃지 마.  [woot-ji ma]  :  Don’t laugh.   –  casual
  15. 전화하지 마세요.  [jeon-hwa ha-ji  ma-se-yo]  :  Don’t call, please. –  polite
  16. 전화하지 마.  [jeon-hwa ha-ji  ma]   :   Don’t call.  –  casual


Here is one more sentence of 지 마세요” in Korean: “Don’t forget to study Korean, please.”

“한국어 공부하는 거 잊지 마세요!”  [han-gook-eo gong-boo-ha-neun guh it-ji ma-se-yo]

                                                             감사합니다! (Thank you!)

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About the Author: Kyung-Hwa

안녕하세요? My name is Kyung-Hwa, and I am a native of South Korea. I am accustomed to both English and Korean languages and cultures. I greatly appreciate and love both of them. I am passionate about learning different languages, and I have studied English, Japanese, and Spanish. In my spare time, I take joy in singing, playing the piano, and reading books. I also enjoy traveling around the world, meeting people, and embracing new cultures and languages...