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Beginner 2 > Lesson 30

Lesson 30. How to say, “Let’s Verb, Don’t Verb, and Let’s not Verb” 

1. Saying “Let’s” in 반말 : Verb-자.

Verb-자 ending is used when you suggest doing something together with the other person/people. It’s very much like “Let’s Verb” in English.

This sentence ending is only used when talking to someone in an informal / casual way. In other words, -자 ending is in and of itself 반말. You cannot any additional ending to make it 존댓말.


Verb Stem + 자: Let’s Verb


밥을 같이 먹자! – Let’s eat together!

오늘 이 영화를 같이 보자! – Let’s watch this movie today!

빨리 가자! – Let’s go quickly!

밥을 먹고 싶어. 요리를 같이 하자! – I want to eat. Let’s cook together!



2. Saying “Let’s” in 존댓말

When you want to say “Let’s” in a politer or more formal way using 존댓말, there are two ways you can do this:

1) Using Imperative Sentence : Simply conjugate the verb in present tense.


Verb + 아/어 + 요: Let’s Verb


한국어를 열심히 공부해요. – Let’s study Korean hard.

학교에 같이 가요! – Let’s go to school together.

우리 오늘 일찍 자요! – Let’s sleep early today.

맛있는 음식을 더 먹어요. – Let’s eat more delicious food.


2) Use ~ㅂ/읍시다 ending

-ㅂ/읍시다 is a suggestive form of -ㅂ/습니다 ending. You can think of it as the most formal way to say “Let’s.”


Verb Stem (that doesn’t end it 받침) + ㅂ시다

Verb Stem (that ends in 받침) + 읍시다

*irregular rule: If a verb ends in ㄹ 받침, then 1) ㄹ gets deleted and 2) ~ㅂ시다 is added to the verbs stem.
If a verb ends in ㅅ 받침, then 1) ㅅ gets deleted and 2) 읍시다 is added.


Let’s look at some examples:

가다 (to go) > 갑시다 – Let’s go!

먹다 (to eat) > 먹읍시다 – Let’s eat!

만들다 (to make) > 케이크를 만듭시다 [만들읍시다 (X)] – Let’s make a cake!

만나다 (to meet) > 오늘 만납시다 – Let’s meet today!

운동하다 (to exercise) > 운동합시다 – Let’s exercise!

집을 짓다 (to build a house) > 집을 지읍시다 [짓읍시다(X)] – Let’s build a house.



내일 제프의 생일이니까 제프에게 선물을 삽시다. – It’s Jeff’s birthday tomorrow, so let’s buy him a present.

우리 계속 공부를 열심히 합시다! – Let’s continue studying hard!

조금만 더 기다리십시다. – Let’s wait a little bit more.

수업 끝나고 컴퓨터 게임합시다. – Let’s play computer games after school.

저는 이곳이 좋아요. 여기 또 옵시다. – I like this place. Let’s come here again.


Now, we’re going to learn how to negate imperative sentences, and tell the other person NOT to do something.

3. How to say “Don’t verb” 

If you want to command/tell somebody “not to do something”, you can use this negation verb : “verb-지 말다.” 

The literal meaning of “말다” is “to not do” or “to stop,” and it can be conjugated as follows:

Present] 말다 > 말다 + 아/어 > 말아 (=interchangeable with / 마 is more commonly used in casual, spoken Korean)

Past] 말다 > 말다 + 았/었어 > 말았어

Future] 말다 > 말다 + -ㄹ/을 거야 > 말 거야 (말다 is a ㄹ ending verb, so it follows a irregular future tense conjugation rule)


When you say “Don’t,” it is an imperative sentence in present tense, we can go with the present conjugation 말아 or 마. 

Verb Stem + 지 말아(요) : Don’t Verb

Verb Stem + 지 마(요) : Don’t Verb


Let’s look at some examples:

하다 (to do) > 하지 말아(요) / 하지 마(요) – Don’t do it.

가다 (to go) > 가지 말아(요) / 가지 마(요) – Don’t go. 

오다 (to come) > 오지 말아(요) /  오지 마(요) – Don’t come.

말하다 (to speak) > 말하지 말아(요) / 말하지 마(요) – Don’t speak.

마시다 (to drink) > 마시지 말아(요) / 마시지 마(요) – Don’t drink. 


Let’s look at the levels of formality when using Verb-지 말다.

1) Verb-지 마 / Verb-지 말아  :  반말

Verb Stem + 지 마: Don’t Verb / used more often, especially in spoken form

Verb Stem + 지 말아: Don’t verb 


Example Sentences:

밥을 빨리 먹지 말아 / 먹지 마! – Don’t eat your food quickly!

걱정하지 말아 / 걱정하지 마! – Don’t worry!

아무한테도 말하지 말아 / 말하지 마! – Don’t tell anybody!

돈을 다 쓰지 말아 / 쓰지 마! – Don’t spend all your money.

내 시간을 낭비하지 말아 / 낭비하지 마! – Don’t waste my time!


2) ~ 마요 / 말아요 / 마세요  : 존댓말

If you want to make your sentence sound more polite/formal, you can add -요 ending to the grammatical pattern above and you will get:

Verb Stem + 지 마요 / 지 말아요: Don’t Verb

Verb Stem + 지 마세요 : Please, do not Verb (this sounds politer than the above 존댓말 forms, since you are using -시다 honorific verb.)
(Verb Stem + 지 말다 + (으)세요 = Verb-지 마세요.)


운동하다 (to exercise) > 운동하지 마요 / 운동하지 말아요 / 운동하지 마세요 – Don’t exercise.

가다 (to go)  > 가지 마요 / 가지 말아요 / 가지 마세요 – Don’t go.

하다 (to do) > 하지 마요 / 하지 말아요 / 하지 마세요 – Don’t do it.

보다 (to watch / see) > 보지 마요 / 보지 말아요 / 보지 마세요 – Don’t look/watch.

자다 (to sleep) > 자지 마요 / 자지 말아요 / 자지 마세요 – Don’t sleep.



4. How to say, “Let’s not Verb” 

As we’ve learned above, to say “Let’s Verb,” you can add -자 to a Verb Stem. We also learned that Verb-자 is an informal speech (반말.)

To say “Let’s not Verb” in 반말, you can combine Verb + 지 말다 + 자, and you’ll get : Verb-지 말자. 

Verb Stem + 자: Let’s Verb

Verb Stem + 지 말자: Let’s not Verb


오늘 저녁을 먹지 말자. – Let’s not eat this dinner today.

오늘 날씨가 추우니까 밖에 가지 말자. – It’s cold today, so let’s not go outside.

이 사람을 믿지 말자. – Let’s not trust this person. 

우리 말다툼 하지 말자. – Let’s not argue. (말다툼: argument)


To say “Let’s not verb” in 존댓말, you can use the two following grammar patterns:

Verb Stem + 지 마요/말아요 (combination of Verb Stem + 지 말다 + ~아/어요): Let’s not Verb

마세요 doesn’t apply here, because 마세요 is suggesting the other person not to do verb, not us. (시다 honorific form cannot be used with first person subject.)


You can also combine 말다 with -ㅂ/읍시다 ending.

Verb Stem + 지 맙시다 : Let’s not Verb

It’s 맙시다, not 말읍시다. (remember the irregular rule of ㄹ 받침) 


Let’s look at some examples:

이 영화는 재미없으니까 보지 마요 / 보지 말아요 / 보지 맙시다. – Let’s not watch this movie, it’s boring.

돈이 별로 없으니까 이건 사지 마요 / 사지 말아요 / 사지 맙시다. – We don’t have much money, so let’s not buy it.


[Quick Summary]

1. How to say “Let’s Verb”


Verb Stem + ~자: Let’s Verb


Verb Stem + 어/아 + 요

Verb Stem (Ends in Vowel) + ㅂ시다

Verb Stem (Ends in Consonant) + 읍시다
*except for irregular verbs


2) How to say “Don’t Verb”

Verb Stem + 지 말다


Verb Stem + 지 말아 

Verb Stem + 지 마 : more often used, especially in spoken form


Verb Stem + 지 마요 / 지 말아요

Verb Stem + 지 마세요 (Verb Stem + 지 말다 + (으)세요)


3. How to say “Let’s not Verb”


Verb Stem + 지 말자: Let’s not Verb



Verb Stem + 지 마요/말아요 

Verb Stem + 지 맙시다