In this lesson, we are going to look at how to say “no matter how …” in Korean.
To say this, you need to know two key parts: one is the word 아무리 [a-mu-ri], and the other is the suffix -아/어/여도 [-a/eo/yeo-do] (introduced in Level 3 Lesson 20).
아무리 + Verb Stem + -아/어/여도
= No matter how + verb/adverb/adjective …
아무리 [a-mu-ri] has a definition, but it’s rarely used on its own to define or mean anything. This word is usually used with -아/어/여도 or other endings that mean "even if" or "however". You COULD say the same thing without 아무리, but 아무리 makes the meaning of the entire sentence much stronger and clearer.
아무리 바빠도 [a-mu-ri ba-ppa-do] = no matter how busy you are
아무리 어려워도 [a-mu-ri eo-ryeo-wo-do] = no matter how difficult it is
아무리 심심해도 [a-mu-ri sim-sim-hae-do] = no matter how bored you are
* You can tell the tense and the voice, as well as the subject of the entire sentence from the context.
Using 아무리 with nouns
Sometimes you can use 아무리 with nouns, but in order to make them 'verbs', you need to add the -이다 verb. For example, if you want to say 부자 [bu-ja], "a rich person", you need to change it to 부자이다 and the -이다 part changes to either -아/어/여도 or -(이)라도.
No matter how rich you are
= Even if you are a rich person
= 아무리 부자여도 [a-mu-ri bu-ja-yeo-do]
= 아무리 부자라도 [a-mu-ri bu-ja-ra-do]
아무리 미인이라도 = 아무리 미인이여도 = no matter how much of a beauty she is
아무리 바보라도 = 아무리 바보여도 = no matter how big of a fool you are
Using 아무리 with other endings
You can express similar meaning with other endings. 아무리 -아/어/여도 can be replaced with 아무리 -어/어/여 봤자 (Level 7 Lesson 7), 아무리 -고 싶어도, 아무리 -려고 해도, 아무리 -(으/느)ㄴ다고 해도,etc., to express similar meanings. However, the sentences will all have subtle differences based on the core meaning of the 2nd part.
아무리 공부해도 [a-mu-ri gong-bu-hae-do] (most neutral) = no matter how much you study
아무리 공부해 봤자 [a-mu-ri gong-bu-hae bwat-ja] (least hopeful) = no matter how much you study
아무리 공부하고 싶어도 [a-mu-ri gong-bu-ha-go si-peo-do] = no matter how much you want to study
아무리 공부하려고 해도 [a-mu-ri gong-bu-ha-ryeo-go hae-do] = no matter how much you are going to try to study
아무리 공부한다고 해도 [a-mu-ri gong-bu-han-da-go hae-do] (less hopeful) = no matter how much you study
아무리 + Verb Stem + -아/어/여도 그렇지...
In addition to the basic structure of -아/어/여도, there is also a commonly used structure, -아/어/여도 그렇지, that is used with 아무리. When you add "그렇지", the sentence can be used on its own, without the next part following. Here, 그렇지 means "but still...".
아무리 어려워도 = no matter how difficult it is,
아무리 어려워도 그렇지. = I know it's difficult, but still... / No matter how difficult it is, still....
1. 아무리 늦어도 2시까지는 오세요.
[a-mu-ri neu-jeo-do du-si-kka-ji-neun o-se-yo.]
= No matter how late you are, be there by 2.
= Come by 2 at the latest.
2. 아무리 싫어도, 안 싫은 척 해 주세요.
[a-mu-ri si-reo-do, an si-reun cheok hae ju-se-yo.]
= No matter how much you hate him, please pretend you don't hate him.
3. 아무리 맛있어도 이제 그만 먹어요.
[a-mu-ri ma-si-sseo-do i-je geu-man meo-geo-yo.]
= No matter how delicious it is, stop eating now.
4. 아무리 비싸도 제가 사 줄게요.
[a-mu-ri bi-ssa-do je-ga sa jul-ge-yo.]
= No matter how expensive it is, I'll buy it for you.
5. 아무리 학생이라도 공부만 하는 건 아니에요.
[a-mu-ri hak-saeng-i-ra-do gong-bu-man ha-neun geon a-ni-e-yo.]
= Even if you are a student, you don't always study.
= Even students don't always study.