Episode from the podcastTalk To Me In Korean

TTMIK Level 6 Lesson 4 PDF

Released Thursday, 21st July 2011
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TTMIK Level 6 Lesson 4 - Do you mind if I ...?

In this lesson, we take a look at how to ask someone if they would mind if you did something, or if it is okay to do something.

Basically, in order to say this in Korean, you use structures -아/어/여도 되다 and -아/여/여도 괜찮다. (You can go back to Level 4 Lesson 8 to review on how to use -아/어/여도 되다.) Therefore, you literally say “Is it okay if I …?” or “Is it okay for me to …?”.

Let’s look at the various ways of saying this in Korean.

1. Verb stem + -아/어/여도 돼요?

This is the simplest structure. The verb 되다 [doe-da] here means “to be okay”, “to be doable”, or “to be possible” and -아/어/여도 means “even if …” or “even when”. So all together, -아/어/여도 되다 [-a/eo/-yeo-do doe-da] means “to be okay (even) if …”.

Sample Sentences
(1) 여기 앉아도 돼요?
[yeo-gi an-ja-do dwae-yo?]
(Verb: 앉다 /an-da/ to sit)
= Do you mind if I sit here?

(2) 창문 닫아도 돼요?
[chang-mun da-da-do dwae-yo?]
(Verb: 닫다 /dat-da/ to close)
= Do you mind if I close the window?

(3) 나중에 전화해도 돼요?
[na-jung-e jeon-hwa-hae-do dwae-yo?]
(Verb: 전화하다 /jeon-hwa-ha-da/ to telephone)
= Do you mind if I call you later?

2. Verb stem + -아/어/여도 괜찮아요?

This is almost the same structure as -아/어/여도 되다, except the verb here is 괜찮다 [gwaen-chan-ta]. These two structures are interchangeable, but -아/어/여도 괜찮아요 has a slightly softer nuance, whereas -아/어/여도 돼요 tends to be a little more direct. By using -아/어/여도 괜찮아요, you can give the other person an impression that you are being more careful.

Sample Sentences
(1) 저 먼저 가도 괜찮아요?
[jeo meon-jeo ga-do gwaen-cha-na-yo?]
(Verb: 가다 /ga-da/ to go)
= Do you mind if I leave first (before other people)?

(2) 이거 열어 봐도 괜찮아요?
[i-geo yeo-reo bwa-do gwaen-cha-na-yo?]
(Verb: 열다 /yeol-da/ to open)
= Do you mind if I open this?
= Do you mind if I try opening this?

(3) 내일 말해 줘도 괜찮아요?
[nae-il ma-rae jwo-do gwaen-cha-na-yo?]
(Verb: 말하다 /ma-ra-da/ to tell)
= Do you mind if I tell you tomorrow?

3. Verb stem + -아/어/여도 될까요?

This structure uses the verb 되다 [doe-da] again, but here, it is used in the -(으)ㄹ까요 form, which we introduced in Level 3 Lesson 4. By using -(으)ㄹ까요, you can express your curiosity or uncertainty about something, therefore naturally asking for the other person’s response or feedback. Therefore asking 될까요? makes your sentence softer and more polite than saying 돼요?

Sample Sentences
(1) 여기 앉아도 될까요?
[yeo-gi an-ja-do dwael-kka-yo?]
(Verb: 앉다 /an-da/ to sit)
= Do you mind if I sit here?
= Would you mind if I sit here?
= I wonder if I can sit here?

(2) 창문 닫아도 될까요?
[chang-mun da-da-do dwael-kka-yo?]
(Verb: 닫다 /dat-da/ to close)
= Do you mind if I close the window?
= Could I close the window?

(3) 나중에 전화해도 될까요?
[na-jung-e jeon-hwa-hae-do dwael-kka-yo?]
(Verb: 전화하다 /jeon-hwa-ha-da/ to telephone)
= Do you mind if I call you later?
= Can I call you later?

4. Verb stem + -아/어/여 주실래요?

With all the three structures above, you can express “Do you mind if I …?”, asking the other person if it would be okay if YOU did something. But if you want to ask THE OTHER PERSON whether he or she would mind doing something, you can use the structure -아/어/여 주실래요? [-a/eo/yeo ju-sil-lae-yo?].

주다 [ju-da] means “to give” but when you combine it with other verbs, -아/어/여 주다 means “to do something for someone”, and the honorific suffix -시- [-si-] makes your sentence more polite.

Sample Sentences
(1) 조금 기다려 주실래요?
[jo-geum gi-da-ryeo ju-sil-lae-yo?]
(Verb: 기다리다 /gi-da-ri-da/ to wait)
= Do you mind waiting for a bit?

** In casual language, you can say 조금 기다려 줄래?

(2) 한 번 더 설명해 주실래요?
[han beon deo seol-myeong-hae ju-sil-lae-yo?]
(Verb: 설명하다 /seol-myeong-ha-da/ to explain)
= Do you mind explaining one more time?

** In casual language, you can say 한 번 더 설명해 줄래?

Keeping the same kind of nuance, you can change the sentence ending to the following:

(1) -아/어/여 주실래요? → -아/어/여 줄래요?
(줄래요? is a little less formal than 주실래요? without the suffix -시-.)

(2) -아/어/여 주실래요? → -아/어/여 주시겠어요?
(주시겠어요? is interchangeable with 주실래요? but a little more polite and formal.)
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