Korean grammar patterns for – Permission and prohibition 

 October 15, 2021

By  Smriti

Today we’ll see grammar patterns which are used to form sentences regarding demand, obligation, permission and prohibition.

아 /어도 되다/좋다/괜찮다

의미 : 아 /어도 되다 is used to ask for or to give permission to do something. It has the same meaning as 'may I/someone do something'. It is also often used to express something which is allowed conventionally or socially.

It is always attached directly to the end of a verb stem.

  • 아도 되다 is used when the stems of verbs ends with 아 or 오.
  • 어도 되다 is used with the stems of other verbs.
  1. 먹다 - 먹어도되다
  2. 나가다 - 나가도되다
  3. 듣다 - 들어도되다
  4.  쓰다 - 써도되다
  5. 부르다 - 불러도되다

예문 :

1) 이 케익 먹어도 돼요.

You can eat this cake.

2) 여기에서 노래를 불러도 돼요?

Can I sing here?

3) 아니요, 안 돼요.

No, You are not allowed to sing here.


(으)면 안되다

의미 : Used to express a refusal of permission or prohibition to do something. It has the same meaning as 'someone may not do something'. 

~(으)면 안되다 is also used to express something which is not allowed conventionally or socially.

~(으)면 안되다 is always attached directly to the end of a verb stem.

  • 으면 안되다 is used with verb stems ending in a consonant.
  • 면 안되다 with verb stems ending in a vowel.
  1. 앉다 - 앉으면 안 돼요.
  2. 피우다 - 피우면 안 돼요.
  3. 놀다 - 놀면 안 돼요.
  4. 듣다 - 들으면 안 돼요.

예문 :

1) 이 빌딩 안에서는 담배를 피우면 안 돼요.

You must not smoke inside this building.

2) 들어가면 안 돼요.

You should not go in.

3) 수업 시간에 영어로 말하면 안 돼요.

You shouldn't speak English in the class.

4) 고양이 만지면 안 돼요.

You're not supposed to touch the cat.


지 마세요/지 말다

의미 : 지 마세요 / 지 말다 is used to tell someone ' not to do something'. Therefore, it can be used only with action verbs.

Descriptive verbs should be changed into their action verb form to be used correctly with this structure.

~지 마세요 is always attached directly to the end of a verb stem.

  1. 기다리다 - 기다리지 마세요
  2. 전화하다 - 전화하지 마세요

예문 :

1)도서관 안에서는 떠들지 마세요.

Don't be loud in the library.

2) 오늘은 지각하지 마세요.

Don't be late today.

3) 술 너무 많이 마시지 마세요.

Don't drink too much.


아/어야 되다/하다

의미 : 아 /어야 되다 /하다 is a sentence ending that means 'should', 'must' or 'have to'.

The last verb 되다 literally means 'to become ' and 하다 means ' to do' but here, combined with the 아 /어야, it means' should / must / have to.

~되다 and 하다 are usually interchangeable, but we use 되다 more often in colloquial situations.

  • Verb stems ending in vowels 아 or 오 use 아야 되다 / 하다
  • Verb stems ending in other vowels, use 어야 되다 /하다
  • Verb stems ending with 하 use 해야 되다.

예문 :

1) 집에 가야 돼요.

I have to go home.

2) 저는 뭐해야 돼요?

What should I do?

3) 저는 한국어 공부를 열심히해야 해요.

I have to study Korean hard.

4) 나는 영어를 배워야 해요.

I must learn English.

** The above information has been provided with the help of kGrammar app available on playstore for free to download. It’s a great app for grammar learning and I would recommend you to check it out. I am thankful to the creators for making it available for free use.

To understand TOPIK Test structure, application process, Levels and Passing scores etc. check these pages:

  1. TOPIK – The Complete Guide & 2. TOPIK Levels and Passing Marks. You can also Practice Online with TOPIK GUIDE Mock Tests.

If you are going to take the TOPIK Test for the first time, or if you want to give your score a boost so that you can pass a higher level, we would strongly advise you to get the Complete Guide to TOPIK – Self-Study Package. It is a digital study package that has everything you need to get a great score in the TOPIK test – all the past TOPIK papers with answer sheets, grammar and vocabulary study material, video tutorials explaining the test structure, strategies to solve them and much more. You can check out more details about this study package HERE.

Learning Korean can be tricky, especially when the goal of your learning is conversation. If you’ve ever attempted to speak Korean but were unable to, then hopefully you’ll find this post helpful.

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or suggestions. Comment down below.

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