One of the most common words you will hear in Korean is ‘아무 [(a-mu]’. It’s the equivalent of ‘any’ in English and is used in many different contexts and situations. It can only be used with nouns.
Just like ‘anyone’, ‘anything’, and ‘anywhere’, you can add ‘아무’ to other nouns.
Learning these can be a little difficult and take some time to fully grasp. This is because different the same meaning will have slightly different spellings depending on if the sentence is positive or negative.
In English, you can say ‘anyone’ in a positive or negative sentence. This isn’t so in Korean.
To start off, let’s cover the base meaning of each.
Anyone = 아무 can be used by itself
Anything = 아무 + 거 [geo] or 아무 + 것 [geot] (you can learn this by remembering 거/것 means thing)
Anywhere = 아무 + 데 [de]
Now like we said previously, each word changes depending on if the sentence is negative or positive.
With negative sentences, you will add ‘도 [do]’ to any of the above. Negative sentences meaning the sentence has to end with some sort of negative verb like ‘없다’ [eop-da].
Here are some examples:
Anyone, nobody, no one = 아무도 [a-mu-do]
Anything = 아무것도 [a-mu-geot-do]
Anywhere = 아무데도 [a-mu-de-do]
Now let’s use these in sentences! (Remember these are for negative situations.)
아무도 없어요! [a-mu-do eop-seo-yo!] = There’s nobody here!
아무것도 몰라요. [a-mu-geot-do mol-la-yo.] = I don’t know anything.
아무데도 안 가요. [a-mu-de-do an ga-yo.] = I’m not going anywhere.
How about positive situations? Instead of adding ‘도’, we add ‘나 [na]’ to the words Let’s break it down below:
Anyone, nobody, no one = 아무나 [a-mu-na]
Anything = 아무 거나 [a-mu-geo-na]
Anywhere = 아무 데나 [a-mu-de-na]
As you can see, not much difference except the endings, and for anything, ‘것’ changes its form to ‘거’. Let’s show you some example sentences for these:
아무나 올 수 있어요. [a-mu-na ol su i-sseo-yo] = Anyone can come.
좋아하는 것으로 아무거나 골라요. [jo-a-ha-neun geos-eu-ro a-mu-geo-na gol-la-yo] = Choose anything you like.
아무데나 앉아도 돼요? [a-mu-de-na an-ja-do dwae-yo?] = Can I sit anywhere?
And those are the basics! ‘아무’ is one of those concepts that takes a lot of practice to get used to. There are actually a few more ‘아무’ words, but those will be covered in future lessons.