말다 Negative – Korean Negative Statements #5

We've learned 안 and 못 negative. We'll learn the final negative form, 말다 negative.

What is 말다?

Unlike 안, 못 negative, 말다 negative is only used with command or suggestion. They cannot be used in question or normal sentences. In other words, 말다 means "stop", "don't", or "let's not" in English.

When it is conjugated for command, it is used in the form of "-지 말라". However, in spoken Korean, "-지 마" or "-지 마라" is more frequently used. It seems that it's because 마 or 마라 is more convenient to pronounce.

가지 마.
Don't go.

움직이지 마라.
Don't move.

아직은 먹지 마. 다 오면 먹자.
Don't eat now. Let's eat together when they come.

When it is conjugated for suggestion, it is used in the form of "-지 말자". It doesn't have forms like "마자".

우리 가지 말자.
Let's not go there.

아직은 움직이지 말자.
Let's not move now.

지금은 먹지 말자. 내일을 위해 남겨 놓자.
Let's not eat it now. Let's save it for tomorrow.

Polite Version

Polite versions are "-지 마세요" and "-지 마십시오". Both of them are used for suggestion and command.

가지 마세요.
Don't go, please.

움직이지 마세요.
Don't move, please.

먹지 마세요.
Don't eat, please.

However, as for "-지 마십시오" form, it is usually better to change the sentence to question form. If you use those forms, the listener has no choice but to follow. But in question form, they have choice. So, it is usually better way to change it to question forms like:

가지 마시겠습니까?
How about not going?

움직이지 마시겠습니까?
How about not moving?

드시지 마시겠습니까?
Would you mind if you don't eat now?

2 Things to Remember

Finally, I hope you to remember these 2 things.

First of all, when 말라 is used at the end of the sentence, you shouldn't use tense suffixes. It makes sense with English, too. When you want to say "don't do that", you wouldn't say "didn't do that" or "won't do that". It's same in Korean.

In other words, 가지 말더라, 가지 말았더라, 가지 말을 것이라, etc. are all wrong.

Secondly, 말라 doesn't have short negative form. It only have lone negative. So, things like 말 가다, 말 움직이다 don't exist in Korean.