Beginner 3 > Lesson 5

Lesson 5. “I have P.P before” [Verb-아/어봤다, Verb-ㄴ/은 적이 있다]

Have/haven’t P.P before  


There are 2 main ways to say that you “have/haven’t done…before”: 


Have done before Have NOT done before 
Present verb + 봤다 안 + present verb + 봤다 
Verb stem + ㄴ/은 적이 있다 Verb stem + ㄴ/은 적이 없다 

 *Present Verb : Verb + 아/어 봤다 

These are used to refer to someone’s past experience of doing something and can be used interchangeably.  


Present Verb + 봤다 


This construction is based on the addition of the verb 보다 to the present tense form of a verb and since you are talking about a previous experience, 보다 is commonly conjugated into the PAST tense.  




미국에 가봤어요? – Have you ever been to the US? 

한국에 살아봤어요 – I have lived in Korea before  

지금까지 실수를 많이 해봤어요 – I’ve made many mistakes so far  

그 빵을 먹어봤어요 – I have tried (eaten) that bread  

그 책 읽어봤어요 – I have read that book before 

그 노래 안 들어봤어요 – I haven’t heard that song before  

그 회사에서 일 안 해봤어요 – I have not worked at that company before  

제프랑 말해봤어요 – I have talked with Jeff before/I tried talking with Jeff* 


*Note: this construction can also express your attempt at doing something and so can mean “to have tried” (e.g., 제프랑 말해봤는데 말이 안 통해요 – I tried to talk with Jeff, but we don’t understand each other). Most of the time, you will understand which meaning the sentence takes with context. Be aware that this “to have tried” meaning is NOT interchangeable with ㄴ/은 적이 있다/없다.  


In the case of “to have seen before”, you would NOT have to add this extra 봤다. 

e.g., 쟤를 봤어요 – I’ve seen her (O) / 쟤를 봐봤어요 – I’ve seen her (X) 

If you wanted to add this extra nuance of past experience, it would be more natural to use the ㄴ/은 적이 있다/없다 construction. 

e.g., 쟤를 본 적이 있어요 – I’ve seen her before 

Verb stem + / 적이 있다/없다  


Again, this construction is used interchangeably with 봤다  to mean “have/haven’t before” 

In most cases, the VERB STEM + 보다 form is used as the stem, forming: 

VERB STEM + 본 적이 있다/없다 


The word 적 refers to a “past experience” and so when using 있다, you are literally saying “I have the past experience of…” and so it comes to mean you “have done” something. In the same way, when used with 없다, you are saying “I do NOT have the past experience of…” and so you are saying you “have NOT done” something. 




그 빵을 먹은 적이 있어요 – I have tried (eaten) that bread  

그 회사에서 일한 적이 있어요 – I have worked at that company before  

삼성 노트북을 써본 적이 있어요 – I have used a Samsung laptop before  

방탄소년단을 실제로 본 적이 있어요 – I have seen BTS in real life 

남자친구를 사귀어본 적이 없어요 – I haven’t had (dated) a boyfriend before  

제프는 제 앞에서 운 적이 없어요 – Jeff hasn’t cried in front of me before**  


**Note: ㄹ 받침 is removed before the construction is added forming 운 instead of 울은 


 그 노래를 들은 적이 없어요 – I haven’t heard that song before***  


***Note: 듣다 changes it’s stem to 들  when combined with은 


한 번도 can also be added to the “haven’t” version of this construction to emphasize that you haven’t done something “even once” before.  It can be added either before없다 or before the whole construction itself. 

e.g., 한국에 한 번도 간 적이 없어요 – I haven’t been to Korea before  

         한국에 간 적이 한 번도 없어요 – I haven’t been to Korea before  


Additionally, the 이 particle in 적이 있다/없다 can be removed  

e.g., 제프는 제 앞에서 울어본 적 없어요 – Jeff has not cried in front of me before 


Verbs already combined with 주다 


For the verbs already combined with 주다, an extra 보다 does NOT need to be added.

For example, 도와줘본 적이 있다/없다 and 도와줘봤어요 are NOT necessary.

Instead, ㄴ/은 적이 있다/없다 would be added directly to the 주다auxillary verb stem.  




제프는 저를 도와준 적이 있어요 – Jeff has helped me before  

아빠는 저를 안아준 적이 없어요 – My dad has never hugged me before 

여자친구는 (저에게) 노래를 불러준 한 번도 적이 없어요 – My girlfriend never sings for me  

우리 언니는 (저한테) 요리해준 적이 많이 있어요 – My sister has cooked for me many times****  


****Note: 많이 있다 can be replaced with 많다 and following the same principle, 많이 없다 can be replaced with 적다