In English, a tag question is formed by stating a positive sentence followed by a negative question, or vice versa: 

  • You are Korean, aren’t you? [ or “You are Korean, right?” ]
  • You are not mad, are you? [ or “You are not mad, right?” ]
  • We all live life alone, don’t we? [ or “We all life live alone, right? ]

In Korean, however, you don’t state a sentence before a tag question. Instead, you only have to structure a negative sentence and make it into a question:

  • 한국 사람 아니에요? You are Korean, aren’t you? [ 한국 사람 아니다 You are not Korean => 한국 사람 아니에요? You are Korean, aren’t you? ]
  • 너 화난 거 아니지? You are not mad, are you? [ 너 화난 거 아니야 You are not mad => 너 화난 거 아니지? ]
  • 인생은 혼자 아니야? Life is to live alone, isn’t it? (We all live life alone, don’t we?) [ 인생은 혼자가 아니다 Life is not to live alone => 인생은 혼자 아니야? ]

Optionally, you may still structure a statement and add a confirming phrase such as “안 그래요?” or “맞아요?”  etc. at the end, which is basically an English positive statement followed by a negative tag question. But it may often sound too foreign and unnatural to Koreans.

  • 어차피 인생은 혼자예요. 안 그래요? After all, we all live life alone. Right?

낚시하기 좋은 날씨네 Perfect weather for fishing

먹구름 잔뜩 끼고 Dark clouds covering the sky 

어이, 친구 Listen, friend

함께 할까? You want to join me?

혼자세요? Are you alone?

어차피 인생은 혼자 아니냐? After all, we all live life alone, don’t we?

낚시 fishing 

날씨 weather 

구름 cloud; 먹구름 dark cloud [ 먹 = ink ]

잔뜩 fully, all over [ negative connotation ]

끼다 to be squeezed in; 구름이 끼다 it is cloudy [weather]

친구 friend 

함께 together 

혼자 alone, by oneself 

어차피 after all, anyway 

아니다 it is not => 아니냐? isn’t it?

인생 life [ 인생 specifically means “human lifespan” or personal life, as opposed to life in general (생물 living creature) ]

50 Meanings of the English word “Life” and proper ways to translate them into Korean:

  1. 생명, 목숨: Being alive; the quality that makes people, animals, and plants different from objects and things that are dead
  • You saved my life 당신이 내 생명을 구했군요
  1. 인생: the period from birth to death of a person; human lifespan
  • 인생은 나그네 길 Life is a wayfarer’s way 
  • 어디서 왔다가 어디로 가는가 Where do we come from, where do we go?
  1. 생활, 삶: a way or manner of living 
  • 우리의 건강한 생활을 위하여, 건배! Cheers to our healthy life!
  1. 수명 the period of duration, usefulness, existence  
  • 건전지 수명 battery life 
  1. 생물 a living creature
  • 외계에 다른 생물체가 있다고 생각해? Do you think there are other life forms out there?

etc. etc.

Join Monobility® Group for much more:

Le Havre