I know that if V is a verb stem, then V지 않다 is one way to express the negation of V.

For example,

먹다: to eat --> 저는 먹어요: I eat

먹지 않다: to not eat --> 저는 먹지 않아요: I don't eat

I came across the structure V진 않다 in a textbook.

What is the meaning of this extra ㄴ in the V진 않다 structure ?

The example where I saw it:

못 먹진 않지만 새우를 싫어해요.

with proposed translation: It is not that I cannot eat it but I dislike shrimps.

Edit (to answer a remark in @J.Alvin's answer): the source of the sentence is the an answer to the first question in Korean Q&A Sentence Patterns by TalkToMeInKorean.

  • 1
    진 is the short form of 지는
    – user237
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 6:25

2 Answers 2


That is the contracted form of the topic/contrast marker (은/는) which is a fairly complex bit of grammar that you should go read about.

Since you give only one sentence (about shrimp) it is hard to say the exact meaning, but perhaps it is a contrastive meaning, for example is the previous sentence talked about fish or clams or something...

As for eating clams, I love them

As for eating shrimp, I dislike them

As for eating sea squirt, it makes me vomit

in this kind of sequence, the contrast marker is used each time to indicate you are contrasting the similar things...

But without the full context, it's hard to be sure. If there is no contrast, then it is simply the topic of the sentence.

Note that 지 is a type of noun called a "bound noun"

That example sentence seems very strange..did that come from an actual Korean source, I wonder?

  • I read about 은/는 and yes, it is complex! Do you mind expending about bound nouns. What does it mean?
    – Taladris
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 13:21
  • 1
    +Taladris A bound (aka dependent) noun is a noun that must be preceded by a descriptive word of some kind. It cannot be used alone. But otherwise it acts just like any other noun (or nominal). Korean has around 30-35 in common use with 거/것 being the most common. But I'll give you an example with 곳 (place)...타는 곳 (boarding place) is created by creating an present tense adnominal from the verb 타다 (>>타는) which then describe the bound noun, giving a bound noun phrase that then is employed like any other noun in a sentence. But you cannot use 곳 alone to mean place..see?
    – B. Alvn
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 6:57

As Super Cool Handsome Gel Boy mentions in his comment, 진 않다 is the short form of 지는 않다.

One meaning is to emphasize a negative fact that's contrary to expectations.

Examples from mykoreanramblings:

여기에서 식당까지 멀지는 않아요. It’s actually not that far from here to the restaurant (although it looks far on a map).

그의 생일 파티에 사람이 많진 않았어요. (I thought he was popular but) there weren’t that many people at his birthday party.

In some cases, it could be a fact that's assumed to be contrary to the listener's expectations. From howtostudykorean.com lesson 104:

시간이 오래 걸리지는 않을 것이에요 = (Though you might expect it to), it won’t take a long time.

Another meaning is that something is not 'very' or 'particularly' true:

크지는 않아요 - it's not all that big


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