How To Say 'Let Alone...' In Korean (은/는 커녕)

The expression 은/는 커녕 is employed in Korean to emphasize a strong contrast or negation, usually translated as “let alone” or “never mind”. It’s used to indicate that not only is a lesser or expected condition not met, but even a more basic or fundamental condition is unfulfilled.

This structure is effective in highlighting the absence or unlikelihood of something.

Grammar Rule: Noun/Verb + 은/는 커녕 + Emphasized Noun/Verb + 도 (for emphasis)

은/는 커녕 by example

Here are various examples showcasing this grammar pattern:

사우디는 겨울에 눈은 커녕 비도 거의 안 와요.
In the winter in Saudi, there's barely any rain, never mind snow.
앞줄은 커녕 그 콘서트의 발코니 좌석표도 못 사요.
Never mind the front row, I couldn't even buy a ticket for the balcony seats.
택시요금은 커녕 버스요금도 없어요.
I don't have bus fare, never mind taxi fare.
어머니는 태블릿은 커녕 휴대폰도 없어요.
My mum doesn't even have a mobile phone, let alone a tablet.
아이는 커녕 애완동물도 키우고 싶지 않아요.
Children?! I don't even want to have pets.
드럼은 커녕 트라이앵글도 못 쳐요.
I can't even play the triangle, never mind the drums.


은/는 커녕 is an invaluable tool in the Korean language for drawing strong contrasts or expressing the absence of something, even more basic or expected. This pattern can add dramatic emphasis and nuance to your Korean sentences.

Learning Korean?
Want to see my favorite and most comprehensive Korean course?
Yes, show me