i have 2 sentences as follows:

저는 무슨 일이 있든지 약속을 지킵니다 (I keep my promise no matter what)


저는 무슨 일이 있어도 약속을 지킵니다. (I keep my promise no matter what)

Both sentences above have the meaning "I keep my promise no matter what", so I wonder how 든지 and 아/어도 are the same and different?

1 Answer 1


In my experience, 아/어도 is a stronger or more emphatic form than -든지.

I would translate the sentences you gave into English, with the following nuances of difference:

저는 무슨 일이 있든지 약속을 지킵니다: Whatever happens, I keep my promise.

저는 무슨 일이 있어도 약속을 지킵니다. No matter what happens, I keep my promise.

The second sentence, at least to me, carries slightly more emphasis.

Ultimately though, these forms are rather interchangeable in the context you are asking about.

One side note that I will mention is the use of interrogative (question) words with these forms. Consider the sentence "It does not matter when we go." This sentence has a question word in it. Usually it is considered unnatural to use the 아/어도 form here. It it is more natural to say 우리가 언제 가든지 상관없어요. When your sentence contains a question word, I would avoid using 아/어도.

  • Thank you. but under what circumstances are 든지 and 아/어도 interchangeable?. For example, I have 2 sentences "저는 늦게 자도 6시에 꼭 일어나요" and "저는 늦게 자든지 6시에 꼭 일어나요", so are these 2 sentences interchangeable? (Sorrry for my bad English)
    – Thai Trinh
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 12:31
  • The two sentences are effectively interchangeable in terms of core meaning grammatically. For me, the first sentence is a bit more emphatic. This is a matter of personal interpretation, which is a necessary challenge of language.
    – Vladhagen
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 18:16
  • Thank you so much!Sorry for asking a bit off-topic. I see you are not Korean but you are very good at Korean. Can you share some tips with me? I've been studying Korean for a long time, but I'm still not good at it.
    – Thai Trinh
    Commented Dec 9, 2021 at 15:06
  • @ThaiTrinh There are many ways to study Korean. I had the privilege of living in Korea for two years, followed by three years of university study. Not everyone can do this. Some simple tips I would suggest are as follows: Read books with both your native language and Korean language versions. (Story books, novels, whatever). Read Korean newspapers. Watch Korean TV with subtitles and slowly try to not look at the subtitles. Write down words you hear and recognize. These things will not make you an academic in Korean; however, you will develop very useful listening and reading skills.
    – Vladhagen
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 19:31
  • @ Vladhagen: Thank you so much for giving me valuable advice
    – Thai Trinh
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 3:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.