I am learning about quotations. And in many examples the construction I've seen those is explained as follows

  1. Put the quoted utterance
  2. Follow the quoted utterance by 다고 + 하다 or 라고 + 하다 (with few rules depending on some cases for the indirect quotation but that's the gist).

Those are few examples of indirect quotations (from my reference):

매일 한국 음식을 먹는다고 했어요 -> He said that he would eat korean food everyday 일본 문학 전공한다고 해요 -> She says that she majors in japanese literature 시험이 쉽다고 해요 -> He said that the test is easy

However I was trying to write some sentences myself and checked the correctness using google translator (obviously not a good way... but that's a start).

왜 너가 김치를 좋아라고 썼어요? -> why did you write you like kimchi 루카님는 날씨가 나빠다고 듣었어요 -> Luca heard the weather is bad

In both constructions the 라고 and 다고 are followed from verbs different from 하다.

I wonder therefore if we can use 라고 and 다고 with any verb, none of my references seems to mention any restriction but all the examples are with the 하다 verb.

2 Answers 2


Since they are quoting phrases, any verb related to saying, asking, suggesting, understanding and so on can follow them, like (말)하다, 이야기하다, 명령하다, 선언하다, 듣다, 이해하다, 해석하다, etc.

As for when to use 다고 vs 라고, it depends on a few things.

  1. -라고 for direct quotes and 다고 for indirect quotes (with a couple of exceptions)

    Direct quotes repeat the original phrase (usually with quote marks but not always) adding -라고 at the end. Indirect quotes use -다고 without quote marks.

    • 영철이는 '나는 공부하기 싫어'라고 (말)했다 (direct) / 영철이는 공부하기 싫다고 했다 (indirect).
    • 선생님은 '꼭 숙제를 해야 한다'라고 말씀하셨다 / 선생님은 꼭 숙제를 해야 한다고 말씀하셨다 (indirect).

    (Direct quotes preserve the sentence ending -아(요), -어(요), etc. but indirect quotes always replace them with verb stem connected with -다고 or -라고)

  2. 라고 for indirect imperative phrase quoting

    Imperative phrase are always quoted with -라고.

    • 사과 먹어 (Eat) -> 사과(를) 먹으라고 했다.
    • 가지 마 (Don't go) -> 가지 말라고 했다 / 부탁했다.
    • 남을 배려하라 (Be considerate to others) -> 남을 배려하라고 말했다.
  3. 다고 vs 라고 in indirect quoting of indicative statements and questions.

    A. -다고 is the default for all verbs and adjectives except 이다, 아니다.

    • 나는 무역 회사에서 일한다 -> 그는 무역 회사에서 일한다고 했다.
    • 그는 일주일에 4일 일한다고 한다 -> 그는 일주일에 4일 일한다고 한다.

    B. -라고 is used for phrases ending with 이다 (is) or 아니다 (is not).

    • 나는 학생이다 -> 자기는 학생이라고 했다.
    • 서울은 학국의 수도이다 -> 서울은 한국의 수도라고 한다.
    • 고래는 물고기가 아니다 -> 고래는 물고기가 아니라고 한다.

The above covers 90% of quoting grammar. The remaining ones are:

  • Indirect quoting of questions use -(이)냐고 instead of -다고 or -라고.

    • 박 교수님이세요? -> 박 교수님이시냐고 물었다.
    • 박 교수님(이) 아니세요? -> 박 교수님(이) 아니시냐고 물었다.
    • 주말엔 뭐 해? -> 주말엔 뭐 하냐고 물었다.
  • There is -하고 which can be used in direct quoting instead of -라고. -하고 is often preferred when you mimic the sound or quote a short phrase.

    • 폭탄이 쾅 하고 터졌다 (쾅 is the sound of the explosion).
    • 동생은 '싫어'하고 달아났다 ('싫어'하고 is short for '싫어'라고 하고).

Note: -다고 and -라고 can shorten to -다 and -라 respectively (싫다고 했다 -> 싫다 했다), but -하고 cannot.

  • In my examples 쓰다 and 듣다 don't think they fall in the categories you mentioned. Am I wrong? Aug 11, 2023 at 0:22
  • They are also in the category. Any verb expressing or perceiving something can use -다고 or -라고, since these constructs describe what is expressed or perceived. .-다고/라고 쓰다 (write it as ...), -다고/라고 읽다 (read it as ...), -다고/라고 듣다 (hear that ...) are all very common phrases.
    – Tony
    Aug 11, 2023 at 2:05

It is very common for "라고", "다고", "하고", etc. to be followed by verbs other than "하다". So we are allowed to say something like (rephrased from your example):

당신은 왜 김치를 좋아한다고 썼어요? Why did you write you like kimchi? (It is much more common to omit "당신은" in sentences like this.)

루카님은 날씨가 나쁘다고 들었어요. Luca heard that the weather is bad.

Below are some more examples:

잭은 "네"하고 대답했어요. Jack replied "okay". (대답하다: to reply/answer)

선생님은 앤이 글솜씨가 좋다고 칭찬했어요. The teacher praised Anne for her writing skill. (칭찬하다: to praise/compliment)

Edit: I shall add some examples from some actual Korean literatures. From dictionaries:

동생이 자기도 같이 가겠다고 말한다. Younger brother/sister says he/she will go with you together. (말하다: to say)

– from entry -다고4 of Standard Korean Language Dictionary

영희는 내일 떠나야겠다고 결심했다. Yeong-hui decided that she should leave tomorrow. (결심하다: to decide)

– from entry -다고3 of Korea University Korean Dictionary

그는 자신이 우리 반에서 가장 키가 크다고 주장했다. He/she claimed that he/she's the tallest in the class. (주장하다: to claim)

– from entry -다고3 of Korea University Korean Dictionary

From a drama script:

은조야, 하고 불렀다. (I) called (her) "Eun-jo". (부르다: to call)

– a narration of a drama, quoted from a news article

From an interview:

박세리는 "그때는 어쨌든 상대방 선수는 잘 쳤고, 저는 어차피 페널티로 1점을 잃는 상황이었다. 치기 어려운 위치였지만 정말 중요한 상황이었다. 안전보다는 경험을 쌓기 위한 도전 정신이 있었다. 불가능하더라도 해보자 했다"라고 털어놨다. "At that time, the opponent hit well anyway, and I was in a situation where I lost 1 point due to a penalty anyway. It was a difficult position to hit, but it was a really important situation. I had a spirit of challenge to gain experience rather than safety concerns. I thought let's do it, even if it might be impossible.", Pak Se-ri said openly. (털어놓다: to say something the listener doesn't know. 털어놨다 is a short-form of 털어놓았다.)

from an interview of Park Se-ri

  • Do you have a textbook reference for the use of 라고 and 다고? The one I have only mention what I explained in my question. Aug 10, 2023 at 3:08
  • @user8469759 I don't have a textbook reference but there's many examples of sentences in which "라고"/"다고" followed by various verbs in some literature. I'll add some of them in my answer.
    – Noiril
    Aug 10, 2023 at 18:23
  • The grammar behind "-고 하다" and "-고 + other verb" is the same. But unlike other verbs, "하다" doesn't mean "to say" on its own. It does only when it follows a "-고" phrase. Perhaps that's why your textbook introduces this use specifically.
    – Noiril
    Aug 10, 2023 at 20:09

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