Wild Nihongo!
てみる / ようとする

てみる / ようとする

てみる / ようとする Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Auxiliary Verb (Group 2)

Essential Meaning: Try and do X / Do X and see what happens / Make an attempt at X / Try one’s hand at X


  • Verb て-Form + みる
    • E.g. はなしてみる [Try and speak]
    • E.g. べてみる [Try and eat]


  • てみる is a very common auxiliary verb that conveys the idea of performing an action on a trial basis to see whether or not the outcome is favorable. For example, if you’ve never tried sushi before, the only way to discover whether or not you’ll like it is to trying eating some. In Japanese, you can express this with すしをべてみる [Try eating sushi]. Similarly, if one tries his or her hand at owning a pet dog, this can be expressed as いぬってみる [Try one’s hand at owning a dog].
  • ようとする is a similar expression that means “Try to do X“. In the present tense, ようとする and てみる mean essentially the same thing. However, in the past tense ようとする implies that the agent was unsuccessful in whatever action he or she tried. てみる does not carry such an implication.
    • E.g. ブラウンさんはトムのシャツをてみた。[Mr. Brown tried Tom’s shirt on.] てみた simply indicates that Mr. Brown tried Tom’s shirt on at some point in the past.
    • E.g. ブラウンさんはトムのシャツをようとした。[Mr. Brown attempted (and failed) to put Tom’s shirt on.] ようとした implies that Mr. Brown failed in his attempt to put Tom’s shirt on.

Example Sentences:

わたし日本にほん小説しょうせつんでみる。[I will try reading a Japanese novel.]

面白おもしろそうなコンサートだったのでってみました。[Because the concert seemed interesting, I went to check it out.]

ここの刺身さしみはおいしいですよ。べてみますか。[This sashimi is good. Will you try it?]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line from 0:30: しお、カレールー、そしたらあじみて [Add in salt and roux, and then give it a taste]
Listen to this line at 2:07: ありのままでしてみる [As my true self, I will try jumping out into the world]
This song begins with the following line: ˙人混ひとごみにまぎれるとなおさらなみだがでるから、やっぱり一人ひとりなろうとした [Because I get even more sad when I’m mixed in with a crowd, I have sure enough decided to be alone]

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