1000 Korean words for everyday use – Basic vocabulary from K-dramas #8

Welcome back. This is the 8th post in the series of 1000 Korean words for everyday use by analyzing the word frequency of more than 1,000 episodes of Korean dramas.

Today, let’s explore the meaning and context of 5 key Korean words “진짜, 말다, 엄마, 못, 지금” with sample sentences.
Click the play button below to listen to all the words and sample sentences in this post.


Basic Korean words : 진짜, 말다, 엄마, 못, 지금


36. 진짜 [jin-jja] – real, really, very

– 진짜 [jin-jja] is used to emphasize the authenticity or intensity of something, similar to “real”, “really” or “very”.

Example sentences:

진짜 맛있어. It’s really delicious.
어, 진짜야? Uh, really?


37. 말다 [mal-da] – to stop, don’t / to roll (up)

– 말다 [mal-da] can mean “to stop” or “don’t” and it is used to prevent or discourage a particular action.
– In another context, 말다 can mean “to roll up”.

Example sentences:

아, 그래, 그러니까 말 시키지 말아. Oh, yeah, so don’t make me tell you.
김밥 말아 주세요. Roll me gimbap, please.


38. 엄마 [eom-ma] – mom

– 엄마 [eom-ma] is a casual term for “mom”.
– 어머니 [eo-meo-ni] is a formal term for “mother”.
– 어머님 [eo-meo-nim] is a very formal and respectful term for “mother”.

Example sentences:

엄마, 밥 먹었어? Mom, have you eaten?
어머니 어떻게 생각하세요? What do you think, Mom?
어머님, 건강하세요? How is your health, Mom?


39. 못 [mot] – cannot, not able to / nail

– 못 [mot] means “cannot” or “not able to” and represents an inability to perform a certain action.
– In another context 못 also means “nail”.

Example sentences:

나는 한국어를 못해. I don’t speak Korean.
이 못이 안 빠져. This nail won’t come out.


40. 지금 [ji-geum] – now

– 지금 [ji-geum] refers to the present moment and means “now”.

Example sentences:

지금 뭐 해요? What are you doing right now?
예나 지금이나 박 부장님은 그대로예요. Manager Park is the same as always, whether now or in the past.


Grammar & Study Resources

Here’s a quick guide to negative expressions in Korean:

안 + verb: This structure is used to create negative verbs that mean “don’t” or “not”. For example, “안 가요” means “don’t go”.
못 + verb: This construction means “can’t” or “can’t do” the action of the verb. For example, “못 먹어요” means “can’t eat”.
Verb stem + 지 않다: This form is used to create negative actions or states, similar to “don’t” or “can’t” in English. For example, “가지 않다” means “don’t go”.
Verb stem + 지 못하다: Similar to the previous structure, this form expresses “can’t” or “unable to”. For example, “먹지 못해요” means “can’t eat”.
Verb stem + 지만: This form means contrast or opposition. It’s translated into English as “but,” “however,” or “although. For example, 가지만 means “but I’m going.
Verb [adjective] stem + 지 말고: This structure conveys “don’t ~ and”. It’s used to suggest doing one thing and not another. For example, “먹지 말고 마세요” means “Don’t eat and drink”.

These expressions are essential tools for expressing negation and limitation in Korean conversation. By mastering them, you’ll improve your ability to participate in various discussions and understand different contexts effectively.

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