If someone just told you about their problems and you can see they’re stressed or anxious, part of consoling them would be telling them not to worry and how everything will be alright.
This is a verb and it means ‘to worry’. It’s based off the noun ‘걱정’ which means ‘worry’, ‘care’, or ‘concern’. Just a side note…a lot of Korean verbs and adjectives are easy to remember like this. They take a word and simply add ‘하다’ to it to turn it into a verb or adjective.
Like every other verb and adjective in Korean, you can’t just use the word as it is. You have to conjugate it. So let’s show you some basic conjugations for 걱정하다 (standard polite forms).
걱정해요 (geok-jjeong-hae-yo) = I’m worried.
걱정했어요 (geok-jjeong-hae-sseo-yo) = I was worried.
걱정할 거예요 (geok-jjeong-hal kkeo-ye-yo) = I will be worried.
Now let’s give you some example sentences for each one for context.
너무 그러면 엄마가 걱정해요. (neo-mu geu-reo-myeon eom-ma-ga geok-jjeong-hae-yo) = You’re going to make my mom worry.
저 진짜 너무 걱정했어요. (jeo jin-jja neo-mu geok-jjeong-hae-sseo-yo) = I was so worried.
부모님이 걱정할 거예요. (bu-mo-ni-mi geok-jjeong-hal kkeo-ye-yo) = Your parents might be worried about you.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. But aren’t you supposed to tell me how to say ‘don’t worry’ in Korean. Correct! But we just wanted to get the basics of the verb for worry down first.
So now, what if you wanted to change this into ‘don’t worry’? Well, you would use the grammar pattern -지 마요/마세요. The usage of this pattern means you want to tell someone not to do whatever the verb is it’s attached to. Let’s do it with 걱정하다.
걱정하다 >>> drop the -다 and leave 걱정하 >>> 걱정하 + 지마요/마세요 = 걱정하지 마요/걱정하 지마세요 (geok-jjeong-ha-ji ma-yo/geok-jjeong-ha ji-ma-se-yo)
걱정하지 마요 is less formal than 걱정하지 마세요. And like all other verbs, you can just drop ‘요’ to get 걱정하지 마 and use it with close friends and family. And if you want to get really formal with it, then you can use 걱정하지 마십시오. Let’s use these in a few example sentences!
너무 걱정하지 마요. (neo-mu geok-jjeong-ha-ji ma-yo) = Don’t worry too much.
난 걱정하지 마. 괜찮아. (nan geok-jjeong-ha-ji ma. gwaen-cha-na) = Don’t worry about me. I’m okay.
감정 안 상했어. 걱정 하지마. (gam-jeong an sang-hae-sseo geok-jjeong ha-ji-ma) = My feelings aren’t hurt. Don’t worry.
Finally, do you remember how we told you earlier that ‘걱정’ is a noun? Although it is a noun that you can make into a verb by adding ‘하다’ to it, it does not have a Hanja equivalent. This means that it’s one of the few words you can use directly with verb stems. So basically you can drop out the ‘하지’ part in the earlier forms and simply use ‘마요/마세요’:
걱정 마 (geok-jjeong ma)
걱정 마요 (geok-jjeong ma-yo)
걱정 마세요 (geok-jjeong ma-se-yo)
걱정 마십시오 (geok-jjeong ma-sip-ssi-o)
You can feel free to use this version as well if it’s an informal situation with your close friends and family.