Wild Nihongo!


つもり Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Noun

Essential Meaning: Intend to / Be convinced that


  • Verb informal nonpast + つもりだ
    • E.g. はなすつもりだ [Intend to speak]
    • E.g. べるつもりだ [Intend to eat]
  • Verb Past + つもりだ
    • E.g. はなしたつもりだ [Convinced that X spoke]
    • E.g. べたつもりだ [Convinced that X ate]
  • い-Adjective informal nonpast + つもりだ
    • E.g. つよいつもりだ [Convinced that X is strong]
  • な-Adjective Stem + なつもりだ
    • E.g. 元気げんきなつもりだ [Convinced that X is healthy]
  • Noun + のつもりだ
    • E.g. 先生せんせいのつもりだ [Intend to be a teacher / Convinced that X is a teacher]


  • つもり is used to convey one’s intention or conviction. Generally, つもり indicates an intention when paired with a nonpast verb (i.e. “I intend to do X”) and a conviction when paired with a past tense verb or with an adjective (i.e. “I am convinced that X is Y.“) When paired with a noun, the interpretation of つもり depends on context (“I intend for X to be a Y” or “I am convinced that X is Y“). つもり is a dependent noun, so it can only appear with a preceding modifier.
    • E.g. A: くつもりですか。B: はい、そのつもりです。 [A: Do you intend to go? B: Yes, that is my intention.]
    • E.g. *A: くつもりですか。B: はい、つもりです。[A: Do you intend to go? B: Yes, intention.] Because つもり is a dependent noun, it can’t be used without a modifier.
  • Because つもり indicates a personal conviction or intention, the subject of phrases that contain つもりだ must be the first person or someone psychologically close to the speaker. However in the context of a question, the 2nd person (or something psychologically close to the speaker) is typically used as the subject.
    • E.g. ぼくべるつもりだ。[I intend to eat.]
    • E.g. 友達ともだちべるつもりだ。[My friend intends to eat.]
    • E.g. *あのひとべるつもりだ。[That person intends to eat.] It’s ungrammatical to use つもり when the subject is a third person with whom the speaker does not empathize.
    • E.g. あなたはべるつもりですか。[Do you intend to eat?]
    • E.g. ヤマダさんはべるつもりですか。[Does Yamada-san intend to eat?]
    • E.g. *ぼくべるつもりですか。[Do I intend to eat?] It doesn’t make sense to ask someone else about one’s own intentions.
  • つもり can be negated by either negating the preceding verb, adjective, or copula or by negating つもり itself. The difference is that negating つもり itself implies stronger negation.
    • E.g. かないつもりです。[I intend to not go.]
    • E.g. くつもりはありません。[I do not intend to go.] This version comes across much stronger.
  • つもり resembles はず, but the two are not interchangeable. The difference is that つもり indicates one’s will or conviction, whereas はず indicates one’s expectation.
    • E.g. かないつもりです。[I don’t intend to go.]
    • E.g. かれかないはずです。[I expect that he won’t go.]
  • つもり is also comparable to ようとおもう. The differences are:
    • (1) ようとおもう can only replace つもりだ with a preceding verb and not with a preceding adjective.
    • (2) ようとおもう signifies instantaneous / spur-of-the-moment thinking, whereas つもりだ indicates a stable conviction that persists over time.
      • E.g. このくるまさそうなのでおうとおもいますがいくらですか。[This car looks nice. I think I’ll buy it. How much?]
      • E.g. *このくるまは良さそうなのでうつもりですがいくらですか。[This car looks nice and I intend to buy it. But how much is it?] This sentence is contradictory since the speaker expresses his strong intention to buy the car but also expresses reservations about the price.
      • E.g. ステレオの広告こうこくおうとおもったら家内かない反対はんたいされた。[When I looked at the ad for the stereo I thought I would buy it, buy my wife objected to it.]
      • E.g. *ステレオの広告こうこくうつもりだったら家内かない反対はんたいされた。[I saw the ad for the stereo and had the strong intention to buy it. But my wife objected.] This sentence is contradictory because it expresses the speaker’s strong conviction to buy the stereo, but also indicates that the speaker didn’t buy the stereo due to the wife’s objections.

Example Sentences:

わたし来年らいねん結婚けっこんするつもりだ。[I intend to get married next year.]

ちちはまだわかいつもりだ。[My father is convinced that he is still young.]

わたしはよくんだつもりだ。[I am convinced that I read it well.]

これはおれいのつもりだ。[I intend for this to be a token of my appreciation.]

ぼく大学だいがくくつもりはない。[I don’t intend to go to university.]

あんなひとにはもうわないつもりです。[I don’t intend to meet with that kind of person any more.]

わたしはまだ元気げんきなつもりだ。[I’m convinced that I’m still healthy.]

はなしたつもりでしたがはなさなかったんですね。[I was convinced that I spoke to you, but I didn’t, did I?]

この仕事しごとあそびのつもりです。[This job is intended to be fun.]

それで勉強べんきょうしているつもりですか。[Do you intend to study like that?]

WILD Examples:

This song begins with the following line: いったいこのままいつまで一人ひとりいるつもりだろう [How long exactly do I intend to remain along like this?]

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