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In my Korean readings, I occasionally come across the verb ending -치 않다. As I understand it, this is a shortened form of -하지 않다.

However, I have never seen this used with action verbs, only descriptive verbs ("to be" verbs). For example, I have never seen something like "학생이 공부치 않았다.” (The student did not study). I only have seen this shortened ending in the context of a descriptive verb, 예: "피곤치 않다." (I am not tired).

Can this shortened ending be used with all -하다 verbs, or only those that are descriptive verbs?

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  • 1
    Where have you seen "기뻐치 않다"? I'm a native speaker and I've never heard of that before. Are you sure it wasn't a typo? Jun 21 '16 at 18:41
  • Okay, yes, you are correct. That was a bad example since the stem ended in a vowel. I have changed it to 피곤치 않다.
    – Vladhagen
    Jun 21 '16 at 18:59
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In this particular case you ask about, "-하지 않다", This is the case of (as I dub it) "Intense Consonance Phenomenon." By "Intense Consonance" I mean 격음(激音).

ㅎ sound and ㅈ sound come together to create ㅊ sound.

As for your second question, the "Voice vs. Voicelessness" comes into factor. There are two cases:

  • Case of Voice: If the support consonant of the stem word is voiced, e.g. ㄴ; ㅇ; ㅁ; ㄹ, 치 is used.
  • Case of Voicelessness: If the support consonant of the stem word is voiceless (consonants other than the ones I listed above), 지 is used.

Note, however, that this "Voice vs. Voicelessness" is only applied to cases where the original form of the word ends with "하다." What do I mean by this?

As an example, here is the word "서슴" (which means "to hesitate"). As I said above, it would seem correct to use 치 to create the word "서슴치 않다" ("to not hesitate), since the support consonant of the stem word is ㅁ, one of the examples I've listed above. But this case is different; the original form of the word "서슴" is "서슴다." That particular suffix is NOT "하다." Here you would use the phrase "서슴지 않다."

Conclusion:

  • If the original form of the word does NOT end with "-하다," "지" is used as suffix.
  • If the original form of the word does end with "-하다," there are two cases:
    • If the support consonant of the stem word is voiced, "치" is used.
    • If the support consonant of the stem word is voiceless, "지" is used.
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  • Is 치 always used in such cases, or is it optional with 하지 also being valid?
    – busukxuan
    Nov 18 '16 at 5:59
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    @busukxuan I'd say using 치 in such cases is grammatically correct thing to do compared to using 하지. That being said, such distinction might only be necessary in academic/professional environment. Nov 23 '16 at 6:18
  • You can also use 치 않다 if the word ends in a vowel, since it's voiced.
    – onni82
    Jul 29 '19 at 10:30

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