1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Korean
  4. >
  5. "There are not many apples."

"There are not many apples."

Translation:사과가 별로 없습니다.

November 23, 2017



What does 별로 mean?


Not many. From what I can tell you use 많이 있다 to say there are many and 별로 있다 to say there are not many.


"Especially, in particular."


사과는 별로 없어요? why is this wrong?


For clarity, 별로 and (level of formality) verb ending will be disregarded in the explanation.

있다 & 없다 ( = There is & There is not ) always require a real subject i.e. they need to be preceded by a noun marked by 이/가.

("There" in this kind of expression is called "apparent/ostensible subject")

'N'이/가 없다 = There is not any 'N'.


There are not any/no apples = 사과가 없다 (single statement)

If then you wish to tag "apples" as a topic i.e.

Speaking of apples, there aren't any or There aren't any apples (but ...) = 사과가는 없다 (Open topic for possible discussion).

By omitting the subject marker, the sentence has no subject.

사과는 없다 = Speaking of apples, there isn't.

--> The sentence is incomplete. Hence, marked 'wrong'.


You have to choose between 가 and 는. You can't have both.


cf. DLG example:

"서연이는 아름다운 반지를 매일 낍니다."

= Seoyeon wears the beautiful ring every day

Another way to use both subject marker and topic tag is:

사과는 사과가 없다.

It's a bit cumbersome but Korean does allow word repetition in a sentence.


I asked a fellow ALS 1954 student with a Korean wife about this. His reply follows:

Matt, I don't speak or understand Korean too well now, but I hear probably almost as much Korean spoken as English. A couple years ago I came across the same question you are asking. And consulted Hyoeun.

One of her brothers is named 은석. I have heard her utter sentences like the following countless times. 은석이는 어디있어요? When I asked about it, she said, 은석은 doesn't sound nice. But when a friend's name ends in a vowel she uses 은 after it. When I asked if she used the pattern for both speech and writing, she said "both". And after, a second, added, "I think it's the same for writing". I have heard MANY Koreans use this speech pattern. So I think your remark, " Sort of like the 'ny' of 'Johnny', is on point". ...

As for the sentence 사과가는 없다, she said, "That's not Korean. The 가 shouldn't be there."


Bug in the evaluation program?


What is the difference using 별로 and 많이?


많이 없다 = There isn't a lot/many ~ ( = there are some ~ )

많지 않다 = be not many ~ ( = be few ~)

별로 없다 = There are really none ~ = there are not exactly any ( = There is 'kinda' none / very few ). [별로 is a downtoner. It is usually used to soften the negativity of the sentence. ]

In usage, 많지 않다 = 별로 없다 but 별로 없다 is considered more colloquial (used a lot more in speech).


Can i say 사과가 많이없습니다?


At least Snow White can't be poisoned!




Why can't we say " 별로 많이 없습니다 "


별로 없다 = There are not really any => There are very few, if not none

별로 많이 없다 = There are not really a lot = There are not really many => There are only a few

The difference is similar to that of "few" (= near to nothing) and "a few" (= some but not a lot) in English.

Learn Korean in just 5 minutes a day. For free.