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All the variations of the Korean verb ending 있다/없다: ~있어요, ~없어요, ~있었어요, ~없었어요, ~있습니다, ~없습니다, etc

learning korean Feb 27, 2024
Verb Ending: ~있어요, ~없어요, ~있었어요, ~없었어요, ~있습니다, ~없습니다

👍 Contents (Click to navigate instantly)

✅ Usage 1: Present Tense: have/has, do not have (~있어요 / ~없어요 / ~있습니다 / ~없습니다)
✅ Usage 1: Past Tense: had, did not have (~있었어요/ ~없었어요 / ~있었습니다 / ~없었습니다)
✅ Usage 2: Present Tense: exists, does not exist (~있어요 / ~없어요 / ~있습니다 / ~없습니다)
✅ Usage 2: Past Tense: existed, did not exist (~있었어요 / ~없었어요 / ~있었습니다 / ~없었습니다)
✅ Usage 2: Future Tense: will exist, will not exist (~있을 거예요 / ~없을 거예요 / ~있을 것입니다/겁니다 / ~없을 것입니다/겁니다)
✅ Usage in Daily Conversations (Example)


 We previously learned about “to be” verb endings such as ~입니다 / ~이에요 / ~예요. Today, we will proceed to explore another commonly used verb ending — 있다 and 없다.


 있다 generally has two meanings. One, it means “to have,” which shows a sense of possession, and two, it means “to exist,” which indicates the existence of something/someone at a place. The opposite of 있다 is 없다, which means “to not have” or “to not exist.”



Usage 1: 있다 (to have) / 없다 (to not have)


 The first usage of 있다 is when you mean someone possesses something. On the other hand, you use 없다 when you want to say someone does not have something. It usually comes together with the subject particles 이/가.


 We have discussed how to use the subject marker 이/가, so we will quickly recap how to use them.


 We attach 이/가 to the subject of a sentence where 이 goes with nouns with a consonant ending and 가 for nouns ending with a vowel.


Usage 1: Present Tense: have/has, do not have

When conjugated, 있다 becomes 있어(요), and 없다 becomes 없어(요). When you are speaking to someone older or of a higher position, you will need to use the formal speech ending by adding the ~습니다 ending, making them ~있습니다 and ~없습니다.


Example sentences:

저는 연필 있어요.
I have a pencil.

*저: I, me
*연필: pencil


언니는 남자친구 있어요.
My sister has a boyfriend.

*언니: older sister (for female)
*남자친구: boyfriend


어머니는 제주도에 집 있습니다.
Mother has a house on Jeju Island.

*어머니: Mother
*제주도: Jeju Island
*집: house, home


우리 아버지는 차 있습니다.
My father has a car.

*우리: my, our, us
*아버지: father
*차: car


저는 시간 없어요.
I do not have time. (I am busy)

*시간: time


그 아이는 사과 없어요.
That child does not have an apple.

*그: that
*아이: child
*사과: apple


할아버지는 핸드폰 없습니다.
Grandfather does not have a cell phone.

*할아버지: grandfather
*핸드폰: cell phone


우리 사장님은 아내 없습니다.
My boss does not have a wife.

*사장님: boss
*아내: wife


Usage 1: Past Tense: had, did not have

The above explains the first usage in the present tense. Shall we now look into the past tense for 있다 and 없다 verb endings? They conjugate as below:


Example sentences:

I had a dream.

*꿈: dream


I had a car.

*차: car


저는 대학생이었을 때 여자친구 없었어요.
I did not have a girlfriend when I was in college.

*대학생: college student
*때: when, at the moment, at the time
*여자친구: girlfriend


지난 금요일에 할 일 없었습니다.
I had nothing to do last Friday.

*지나다: to pass (지난: past, last)
*금요일: Friday
*하다: to do
*일: work, duty, task


Future Tense

 Although 있다 or 없다 means “to have” or “to not have,” it is more common to see it as you have or do not have something because of its existence in your possession. Therefore, it is uncommon to use 있다 or 없다 in the future tense to mean you will have something or you will not have something. Instead, you would use other verbs, 생기다(to come to existence, to get to have) or 가지다 (to own)


 Now, let us move on to the second usage of 있다 / 없다




Usage 2: Present Tense: exists, does not exist 

 The second usage of 있다 is to indicate the existence of something or someone at a location. On the contrary, you use 없다 to say something or someone does not exist at a location. For this context, you would use the location marking particle .

Present Tense


Example sentences:

저는 학교 있어요.
I am at school.

*학교: school


교수님은 사무실 있습니다.
The professor is in his office.

*교수님: professor
*사무실: office


우리 형은 한국 없어요.
My brother is not in Korea.

*우리: my, we, our, ours
*형: older brother (for male)
*한국: Korea


엄마는 집 없습니다.
Mom is not at home.

*엄마: Mom
*집: home, house


 Besides indicating someone is at a place such as the examples above, we can also use 있다/없다 to indicate the existence of something at a location. In English, it would be equivalent to there is…, (something) is not at…, there is not…, something is not at…


Example sentences:

화장실은 복도 끝 있어요.
The toilet is at the end of the hallway.

*화장실: toilet
*복도: hallway, corridor
*끝: end


병원 앞 국밥집이 있습니다.
There is a gukbap restaurant in front of the hospital.

*병원: hospital
*앞: front
*국밥집: a restaurant that sells gukbap (literally rice soup)


그 책은 테이블 위 없어요.
That book is not on the table.

*그: that
*책: book
*테이블: table
*위: on top of, above


여기는 우체국이 없습니다.
There is no post office here.

*여기: here
*우체국: post office


Usage 2: Past Tense: existed, did not exist

Similar to Usage 1, we would conjugate the 있다 and 었다 verbs into the past tense by adding ~었어요.

Polite: ~에 있다 (drop 다) + 었어요 —> ~에 있었어요 [existed / was at (location)]

Polite: ~에 없다 (drop 다) + 었어요 —> ~에 없었어요 [did not exist/was not at (location)]

Formal: ~에 + 있다 (drop 다) + 었습니다—> ~에 있었습니다 (existed / was at (location))

Formal: ~에 + 없다 (drop 다) + 었습니다 —> ~에 없었습니다 (existed / was at (location))


Example sentences:


주말에 집 있었어요.
I was at home on the weekend.

*주말: weekend
*집: house, home


삼촌은 농장 있습니다.
Uncle is at the farm.

*삼촌: uncle
*농장: farm


이 건물는 음악 가게가 있었어요.
There was a music store in this building.

*이: this
*건물: building
*음악: music
*가게: shop, store


자전거는 카페 밖 있습니다.
The bicycle was outside the cafe.

*자전거: bicycle
*카페: cafe
*밖: outside


영희 씨는 수영장 없었어요.
Yeonghui was not in the swimming pool.

*수영장: swimming pool


셰프님은 주방 없었습니다.
The chef was not in the kitchen.

*셰프: chef
*주방: kitchen


바구니 종이컵이 없었어요.
There was no paper cup in the basket.

*바구니: basket
*종이컵: paper cup


서류가 가방 없었습니다.
The documents were not in the bag.

*서류: documents, papers
*가방: bag


Usage 2: Future Tense: will exist, will not exist

 Contrary to the first usage above, where it is uncommon to use 있다 / 없다 to mean I will have / I will not have, we can use 있다 / 없다 in the future tense to indicate if something or someone will or will not exist at a location.


 The future tense of 있다 and 없다 is formed by adding ~을 거예요.


 Do note that when you use the formal speech for the future tense of 있다 and 없다, you will have to attach ~을 것입니다 or ~을 겁니다 instead of the ~습니다 honorific ending.


Example sentences:

저는 내일 헬스장 있을 거예요.
I will be at the gym tomorrow.

*저: I, me
*내일: tomorrow
*헬스장: gym


우리 아들은 다음 주에 학교 없을 것입니다.
My son will not be in school next week.

*우리: my, we, our, ours
*아들: son
*다음: next, the following
*주: week
*학교: school


다음 달에 이곳에서 파티가 있을 거예요.
There will be a party here next month.

*다음: next, the following
*달: month
*이곳: this place, here
*파티: party


새로운 도시는 놀이공원이 없을 겁니다.
There will not be an amusement park in the new city.

*새롭다: to be new
*도시: City
*놀이공원: amusement park


Usage in Daily Conversations

We can easily incorporate the 있다 and 없다 verb endings into daily conversations. Shall we look at some example conversations?


Conversation 1

A: 밖에 비가 오네요.
A: It is raining outside.

B: 아! 우산 있어요?
B: Ah! Do you have an umbrella?

A: 우산 없어요. 어떡하죠?
A: I do not have an umbrella. What should I do?

B: 저는 우산 있어요. 같이 쓰면 돼요.
B: I have an umbrella. We can share it.

*밖: outside
*비가 오다: to rain
*우산: umbrella
*어떡하죠 (short for 어떻게 하지요): what should I do?
*같이: together
*쓰다: to use *V-(으)면 되다: can, it is okay to, may


Conversation 2

A: 시험은 잘 봤어요?
A: How did your exams go? (Did your exams go well?)

B: 잘 못 봤어요. 펜 없었어요.
B: It didn’t go well. I did not have my pen with me.

A: 그럼 어떻게 했어요?
A: Then, what did you do?

B: 다행히 교실 남는 펜 있었어요.
B: Luckily, there was an extra pen in the classroom.

*시험: exam, test
*잘: good, well
*시험을 보다: to take an exam
*펜: pen
*남는: extra, spare (남다: to remain, be left)


Conversation 3

A: 저는 한국으로 혼자 여행을 갈 거예요.
A: I will be traveling to Korea alone.

B: 혼자요? 정말 용감하네요! 혹시 한국인 친구 있나요?
B: Alone? You’re so brave! Do you have any Korean friends?

A: 아니요, 없어요. 하지만 저는 한국에서 친구들을 사귈 거예요. 그러면 저는 한국 친구 생길 거예요!
A: No, I don’t (have). But I will make friends in Korea. Then, I will have friends in Korea!

*으로: to, with, by, as, for
*혼자: alone
*여행을 가다: to travel, to take a trip
*용감하다: to be brave, to be courageous
*혹시: by any chance
*하지만: but
*사귀다: to get along with, to associate with
*그러면: then
*생기다: to get to have


In conclusion, there are two meanings to 있다 and 없다 verb endings. One, to indicate possession, and two, to indicate existence at a location. As shown in the examples above, Koreans commonly use these verb endings in daily conversations, so please keep practicing!~