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Korean grammar - Negation and cannot/unable - 안 and 못

Negation and cannot/unable - 안 and 못

Pattern: and

The particles and are used to negate statements.

They are inserted immediately before the verb.

means 'not' or 'do not'

means 'not able' or 'cannot' both in the sense of ability and permission.

You will often see prefaced with meaning 'cannot do something well'.

Note that 못하다 (with no space) is itself a verb meaning 'to not be able to do (something) well'.

저는 아침을 안 먹어요.
I do not eat breakfast.

먹어요 먹어요

아침 means 'morning' but here with the object marker means 'breakfast'

저는 텔레비전을 자주 안 봐요.
I do not often watch TV.

봐요 봐요

자주 means 'often'

저는 술을 안 마셔요.
I do not drink alcohol.

마셔요 마셔요

means 'alcohol (beverage)'

저는 술을 못 마셔요.
I can’t drink alcohol.

마셔요 마셔요

어머니는 골프를 못 쳐요.
(My) mother cannot play golf.

쳐요 쳐요

골프 치다 means 'to play golf'

치다 means 'to hit'

친구는 게임을 안 해요.
(My) friend does not play games.

해요 해요

게임 하다 means 'to play (a) game'

저는 스키를 못 타요.
I cannot ski (well).

타요 타요

스키 타다 means 'to ski'

타다 means 'to ride' or 'to take (transport)'

저는 담배를 안 피워요.
I do not smoke.

피워요 피워요

담배 means 'tabaco' or 'cigarette'

피우다 means 'to smoke'

여동생은 요리를 잘 못해요.
(My) younger sister cannot cook well.

해요 못해요

못하다 (with no space) means 'to not be able to do (something) well'

means 'well' or 'in a good way'

제 여자 친구는 영어를 잘 못해요.
My girlfriend cannot speak English well.

해요 못해요

못하다 means 'to not be able to do (something) well

영어 means 'English language'