I Don’t Know in Korean

Hi everyone, it’s your Korean teacher Jun. ‘I don’t know’ is maybe what every students say while they’re learning something new. Of course, it’s not a bad thing because we all study to know something new. Not knowing something is a very natural thing. Still, it’s awesome if you can say you don’t know something in a language that you are learning right now, isnt it? Lol so, today let’s learn how to say I don’t know in Korean.

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Do you remember how to say ‘I know’ in Korean?

I Don't Know in Korean Featured

How To Say I Don’t Know in Korean

몰라요

[molayo]
I don’t know

 

Basic form : 모르다
반말(informal non-honorific) form : 몰라
Negative form with 해요 speech style : –

 

몰라요 means ‘to not know’ in Korean. Unlike English, Korean doesn’t use a negative form of ‘알다(know)’ to say ‘don’t know’. You have to use another verb to say ‘don’t know’ which is 모르다.

 

In a previous lesson, you’ve learned 알아요 can have many meanings. However, 몰라요 only means ‘to not know’ only.

With Adverb 잘

Native Koreans often say ‘몰라요’ with an adverb 잘. 잘 is really similar ‘well’, ‘correctly’, ‘properly’. Koreans use it really often together with ‘I don’t know’ but it’s hard to say 잘 has meaning always because sometimes Koreans just say it without any meaning.

I Don’t Know

English speakers often say ‘I don’t know’ so suddenly without a meaning. Well… you can’t say ‘몰라요’ like that. Sometimes native Koreans just say it. I wouldn’t say it’s 100% same to ‘I don’t know’.

How To Use

A: 어디로 가는지 알아요?
Do you know where to go
B: 몰라요
I don’t know

 

A: 타타씨 이거 정답이 뭐예요?
Tata, what’s the answer of this?
B: 저도 잘 몰라요
I don’t know either

 

A: 물고기를 어떻게 잡아야 할까요?
How can we catch a fish?
B: 몰라요. 아마도 포켓볼?
I don’t know. Maybe pokeball?
* This is a tutorial for how to be a crazy person lol

Positive Form of 몰라요

Technically, the negative form of 몰라요 should be ‘안몰라요’. However, it doesn’t seem to be 100% okay. You can say 안몰라요 but 알아요 sounds much better and natural in almost every situation. 알아요 means ‘know’.

 

알아요
I know

Another Use of 몰라요

Maybe you’ve heard native Koreans say it like ‘아 몰라’ or ‘아 몰라요’ in a bit upset tone. That’s supposed to mean ‘I don’t know (what to do / how to do)’. But it really doesn’t have much meaning but expressing annoyance.

 

아 몰라요!
[ah molayo]

Vocabulary Note

어디 [eodi] : where
가다 [gada] : to go
알다 [alda] : to know
이거 [igeo] : this
정답 [jeongdab] : correct answer
물고기 [mulgogi] : fish
어떻게 [eoddeoke] : how
잡다 [jabda] : grab / hold
아마도 [amado] : maybe
포켓볼 [poketbol] : pokeball

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