Korean Grammar: Expressing "Should" with "여/야 돼요" and "면 안 돼요"

Understanding how to convey obligations or prohibitions in Korean can be pivotal in both formal and informal scenarios.

The structures “V + 여/야 돼요” and “V + (으)면 안 돼요” provide a comprehensive way to indicate what one should or shouldn’t do. Let’s dive into these grammatical constructs and their applications.

Expressing “You Should V”

By using V + 여/야 돼요, you can illustrate actions that one should or is expected to undertake:

하루 세 번 식사를 먹어야 돼요.
You should eat (a meal) three times a day.
피아노를 잘 치면 매일 연주해야 돼요.
If you want to play the piano well you should practice every day.
건강 하려면 신선한 과일과 야채를 먹어야 돼요.
If you want to be healthy you should eat fresh fruit and vegetables.

Expressing “You Shouldn’t V”

The pattern V + (으)면 안 돼요 serves as its negative counterpart, denoting actions that one shouldn’t engage in:

이것은 만지면 안 돼요.
You shouldn't touch it.
약을 먹어면 술을 취하면 안 돼요.
You shouldn't drink alcohol if you're taking medicine.
담배를 피우면 안 돼요.
You shouldn't smoke cigarettes.

In conclusion, familiarizing yourself with “V + 여/야 돼요” and “V + (으)면 안 돼요” can aid in conveying necessities and restrictions more fluently in Korean.

Utilizing these structures will allow for clearer communication, especially in situations where specific actions are advised or discouraged.

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