Have And Don't Have In Korean

In this lesson, you will learn how to say ‘have’ and ‘don’t have’ in Korean. The Korean words for ‘have’ and ‘don’t have’ can also be used to express ‘there is’ and ‘there isn’t’ meaning that something does or doesn’t exist.

The Korean words in this lesson are written in both Hangul and English. If you’ve not yet learned how to read the Korean alphabet, check out our complete Korean alphabet guide to help you learn how to read in Korean.

The key words and expressions for this lesson are:

  • 있어요 – (i-sseo-yo) – exist
  • 없어요 – (eop-seo-yo) – not exist

Have / Don’t Have / There Is / There Isn’t

있어요 – (i-sseo-yo) – exist

있어요 comes from the verb 있다 which means ‘to exist’. When conjugated in the present polite tense 있다 becomes 있어요.

*Don’t worry too much about Korean verb conjugation just now. This will be covered in a future lesson. For now, just remember 있어요 means ‘exist’ in the present tense.

Click on the audio below to check how to pronounce 있어요.

있다 / 있어요 can mean different things in different situations.

있어요 can mean ‘have‘ when you are talking about something in your possession. For example, ‘I have water.’ would be 물 (water) + 있어요 (have) = 물 있어요 (I have water.).

있어요 can mean ‘there is‘ when you are talking about the existence of something. For example, ‘There is water.’ would also be 물 (water) + 있어요 (have) = 물 있어요 (There is water.).

없어요 – (eop-seo-yo) – not exist

없어요 comes from the verb 없다 which means ‘to not exist’. When conjugated in the present tense 없다 becomes 없어요.

Click on the audio below to check how to pronounce 없어요.

없어요 can also have slightly different meanings depending on the situation.

없어요 can mean ‘don’t have‘ when you are talking about something that you do not have in your possession. For example, ‘I don’t have water.’ would be ‘물 (water) + 없어요 (don’t have) = 물 없어요 (I don’t have water.).

없어요 can also mean ‘there isn’t’ when you are expressing that something doesn’t exist. For example, ‘There isn’t water.’ would again be 물 (water) + 없어요 (there isn’t) = 물 없어요 (there isn’t water.)

Making Sentences

To make sentences with 있어요 and 없어요 you must say the thing that you have or don’t have / there is or there isn’t in front of 있어요 or 없어요.

Let’s look at some sample sentences. Try to read the Korean sentences below and then click on the audio to check the pronunciation.

EnglishKoreanAudio
I have water. / There is water.물 있어요
I don’t have water/ There isn’t water.물 없어요
I have money. / There is money.돈 있어요
I don’t have money. / There isn’t money.돈 없어요

Making Questions

Making questions with 있어요 is super easy. To ask the question ‘Do you have (something)?’ / ‘Is there (something)?’ you simply make the same sentence as above but raise your intonation at the end.

Here are some examples.

EnglishKoreanAudio
I have water. / There is water.물 있어요
Do you have water? / Is there water?물 있어요?
I have money. / There is money.돈 있어요
Do you have money? / Is there money?돈 있어요?