We always have so many things to do. We have to work, we have to study, we have to sleep, we have to poop. Our life is filled with obligations. But these obligations give us a wonderful privilege to say ‘Ahhh FUCK 😒😒😒’. So, we are going to learn how to say fu… I mean, ‘I have to do’ in the Korean language.


Have to / Should / Must in Korean Language

English has ‘must do’, ‘should’, ‘have to’ for obligation and they have different nuances to each other. On the other hand, The Korean language has only 2 ways to describe obligation.


Obligation 야돼요 야해요 have to


And they have the same meaning but one sounds formal and another one sounds more casual. So, both can be translated as ‘must’, ‘ should’, ‘have to’.




Use 야 돼요

To say ‘I have to do something’ or ‘I have to be something’, the most common Korean phrase is ‘’-야 돼요’ which means ‘I become to’. For example, if you want to say ‘I have to study’ in the Korean language, then you can say ‘I become to do study’. That must sound a bit weird to you but that’s how you describe obligated actions in the Korean language.


Course 38. Obligation 2


The conjugation starts from the present tense, and then remove the ending 요. and add ‘야 돼요’. 되다 literally means ‘to become’.




해야 돼요 vs 해야 해요

The Korean language uses 2 phrases for obligations. 해야 돼요 and 해야 해요. Both don’t make big differences. However, I asked it to The National Institute of the Korean Language and they answered ‘해야 해’ has a stronger nuance that the subject is willing to.


Korean Language Course 38. Obligation 3 have to


As a Korean, I can say 해야돼요 is much more common in conversations because it sounds a bit casual and natural in any situation. On the other hand, 해야 해요 sounds a bit weird and unnatural in casual conversations.




Adverb 꼭 / 반드시

꼭 and 반드시 are an adverb that is often used with ‘have to’ or Imperative sentences (order). You can translate them as ‘really’, ‘seriously’, ‘must’, ‘never’ but there is no perfect vocabulary for those in English. 꼭 is informal and causal. 반드시 is formal.


여기 계속 있어야 되요
We must keep staying here




With 하다 Words

I think ‘Have to’ with 하다 word is the most common ‘have to’ in the Korean language. Remember the conjugating starts from the present tense. So you have to transform the dictionary form to the present haeyo style first.


Course 38. Obligation 4


Sometimes, it’s more natural to translate ‘해야 돼요’ not as ‘have to’. Because Native Koreans use ‘have to’ in many different situations especially when it’s not really obligated at all. For example, ‘한시간은 걸어야 돼요’ is more like telling an information, not what to have to do. In the sentence, 게임해야돼요 actually is not ‘have to’, it’s more like ‘I want to focus on it’.




With 이다 Words

Usually, when we conjugate 이다 words, They often make the different meaning from 해야 words. Fortunately, this one has the same meaning after conjugating.


Korean Language Course 38. Obligation 5 have to


It also starts from the present haeyo style form and remove ending 요 and add -야해요 But, the conjugation changes slightly by a 받침 at the end of word.





Obligations are always important in any language, not only the Korean language. Because we have so many things to do in our life. But, we also have so many options and choices of what we can do. Why don’t you jump into the next tutorial and learn a little bit about possibility in the Korean language? just one more tutorial. and If you liked this tutorial, join us in Patreon, we are waiting for you.



Jun Hamm

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