I was looking into how to express "except" or "including" in Korean and my main source for this question is How to study Korean Lesson 71.

The word 포함하다 means "to include" whereas 제외하다 means "to exclude". Both of them are often used in passive form by changing 하다 into 되다. For example,

  1. 이 뷔페가격은 포도주가 포함돼요 = This buffet price includes wine/Wine is included in the buffet price.
  2. 이 뷔페가격은 포도주가 제외돼요 = This buffet price includes wine/Wine is not included in the buffet price.

But 포함하다 can be used within a sentence using 포함해(서). For example,

저를 포함해 여기에 네 명이 있어요 = Including me, there are four people here

On the other hand, 제외하다 can be used within a sentence using either 제외하고 or 제외한. For example,

나비를 제외한 모든 동물이 싫어요 = 나비를 제외하고 모든 동물이 싫어요 = Except for butterflies, I don’t like any/all animals.

The website linked at the beginning of the question says that though expressions like 포함하고 or 포함한 or 제외헤서 would be understood, there are not natural.

I fail to understand that asymmetry. Is there a logical (i.e. grammatical) reason for it?

From what I know of Korean grammar, 아/어/여서 means a consequence or a connection (rough English translation: "so"), while 아/어/여고 means a connection ("and") and (으)ㄴ is the adjective form of a descriptive verb.


3 Answers 3


Let me give a shot with an example. I could make the following sentences, and they are symmetric in Korean, in that they are both natual (please comment if you do not agree).

저를 제외하고 여기에 네 명이 있어요 = Myself excluded, there are four people here

저를 포함하고 여기에 네 명이 있어요 = Myself included, there are four people here

While Myself included, ... is a common phrase in English, saying Myself excluded, ... would be unnatural. I'd like to argue that the tendency to use one form over the other is somwhat similar to this analogy.

To answer your question in bold, I do not believe that there is a logical/grammatical explanation to it.

  • +1 for pointing out the asymmetry in English. I am not sure I am following you example: are you saying that 제외하고 and 포함하고 are both correct and natural?
    – Taladris
    Jan 26, 2018 at 8:31
  • 1
    @Taladris - Indeed I am saying that 제외하고 and 포함하고 are both correct and natural. ~하고 is ~하다 + 고, which translates to do ~ and. In this case, both are correct in meaning and natural in use.
    – dey.shin
    Jan 26, 2018 at 14:51
  • @Taladris, please consider selecting my answer if it was helpful
    – dey.shin
    Feb 9, 2018 at 16:22
  • Your answer is useful, but it contradicts with @henry's answer. So I am not sure which one I should accept.
    – Taladris
    Feb 13, 2018 at 2:07
  • @Taladris, that's understandable.
    – dey.shin
    Feb 13, 2018 at 19:18

In everyday usage, I hear these more often in a less complex and formal context:

  1. Including myself, there are four people

저까지 합해서 총 네 명 있어요

  1. There are four people, not counting myself

저를 빼고 네 명 있어요

These are mathematical expressions of adding/combining (합하다) and subtracting (빼다). In this case, the asymmetry is more pronounced - it would be used for simple counts. 포함/제외 are more conceptual in nature where you could include/exclude intangibles like ideas, feelings, etc in addition to physical objects.

You could try looking up sample sentences with both and compare the nuances between 합하다/빼다 vs. 포함하다/제외하다.


'제외해서' and '제외하고' are all correct.

The below four examples are all correct. Only the meanings are a bit different.

이것을 포함해서 다섯이에요. = It includes this and then they become five(natural). or They are five because this is included.

이것을 제외해서 다섯이에요. = They are five because this is excluded(natural). or It excludes this and then they become five.

이것을 포함하고 다섯이에요. = Including this, they are five.

이것을 제외하고 다섯이에요. = Except for this, they are five.

From your sentence '나비를 제외하고 모든 동물이 싫어요'

In this case, you can not say "나비를 제외해서 모든 동물이 싫어요."

Because '나비' is not a reason for disliking others.

  • I think there is a nuance in saying 포함해서/제외해서 here. It could imply that the act of excluding/including was performed in reality. i.e, 이것을 포함해서 다섯이에요 could imply 'Since this has been included, the set becomes five'. Not always the case, but it could have a meaning in that direction.
    – dey.shin
    Jan 26, 2018 at 15:14

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