To talk about one’s experience or the absence of it, English speakers would often use the present perfect tense (have + past participle). Koreans simply say (verb stem)-ㄴ/은 적 있다/없다. Your Korean grammar book may say “적이 있다/없다”, but Koreans usually drop “이” when they speak colloquially unless they want to emphasize the experience or the lack of experience. Evidently, 적 있다 is a positive statement, while 적 없다 states the absence of an experience.

  1. When the verb stem ends in a consonant (받침), use (verb stem)-은 적 있다/없다:
  • 나 한국에 가본 적 있어요. I have been to Korea. [ 가보다 to visit/to go and check => 가보-ㄴ 적 있다 => 가본 적 있다 ]
  • 그런 예쁜 물건은 본 적이 없어요. I have never seen such a pretty thing. [ 보다 to see => 보-ㄴ 적 없다 => 본 적 없다 ]
  • 여보, 나 이거 잃어버린 적 없어요. Honey, I’ve never lost this. [ 잃어버리다 to lose => 잃어버리-ㄴ 적 없다 => 잃어버린 적 없다 ]
  1. When the verb stem ends in a vowel, use (verb stem)-ㄴ 적 있다/없다: 
  • 저 한국 음식 한 번 먹은 적 있어요. I have once tasted Korean food. [ 먹다 to eat/taste => 먹-은 적 있다 => 먹은 적 있다 ]
  • 그런 기사를 읽은 적이 있어요. I have read a similar article. [ 읽다 to read => 읽-은 적 있다 => 읽은 적 있다 ]
  • 아, 그런 얘기 들은 적 있어요. Oh, I have heard a story like that. [ 듣다 to hear/listen => 듣-은 => 들은* (irregular verb stem) 적 있다 ]

After years of absence from the K-Drama scene since 아이리스 (IRIS, 2009), 김태희 comes back to the screen in an ongoing psychological thriller 마당이 있는 집 Lies Hidden in My Garden (2023). Playing the toned-down role of a typical Korean wife in a well-to-do family facing a mysterious situation, she performs with artful restraint that contrasts brilliantly with other strong and dynamic characters screaming for attention surrounding her. In the scene below, her seemingly passive and subdued actions of fragility make her husband’s shrewd menace even more piercing and frightening. This new thriller aptly depicts our primordial fear and greed – our basic instincts intertwined even between a husband and a wife and between different families and social classes. Is its purpose to reveal somber human nature hidden behind our own uncouth and indolent faces of the 21st century? Whatever the goal is, many scenes so far in this new-style thriller send chills down our spine. With its tasteful (and distasteful) expressiveness using intelligently composed lines, sophisticated cinematography, and precisely correct music and sound effects, this newcomer gives us some hope for successful K-drama thrillers after months of recent hiatus in the genre. 

여보, 나 이거 잃어버린 적 없어요 

Honey, I’ve never lost this

무슨 소리야? 

What are you talking about?

당신 이거 차에서 잃어버려 갖고* 엄청 신경 쓰였잖아 

You lost it in the car and it really bothered you

새벽에 잠도 못 자고 찾으러 나올 만큼 

so much that you couldn’t sleep and came out to look for it so early in the morning

안 그래? 


나 이 귀고리 잃어버린 적 없다고요 

I’ve never lost this earring

여보 Honey! [ spoken between husband and wife; 여보세요! Hello (On the phone); 여보시요! Hey! (spoken by older men to strangers); 이보세요! Hey! (Usually spoken by middle-aged men or women when angry) ]

잃어버리다 to lose [ more colloquial and common form than 잃다 to lose ]

무슨 소리야? What do you mean? What are you talking about? [ very informal, used only between a couple or close friends. If it’s normal register, say “무슨 말이죠?” or “무슨 뜻이에요?”  If it’s professional, formal relationships, say “무슨 말씀이세요?” ]

잃어버려 갖고 = 잃어버려서 (you) lost it and [ – 갖고 is a grammatically incorrect but colloquially common usage of the particle -서 which describes the reason or the subsequent actions (since/because … = …, and ) ]

엄청 very much, really 

신경 쓰다 to be bothered [ literally, “use (쓰다) one’s nerves (신경)” ]

새벽 early morning, dawn 

잠을 못 자다 can’t sleep 

(verb stem)-ㄹ 만큼 to the extent that …; … so much that … 

안 그래? Right? Isn’t it?/Aren’t you?/Aren’t they? etc. 

귀고리 earring 

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