ようとおもう / まいとおもう Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Phrase
Essential Meaning: I think that I will do X / I think that I will not do X
- Verb informal volitional + と思う
- E.g 話そうと思う [I think that I will speak]
- E.g. 食べようと思う [I think that I will eat]
- Verb informal nonpast + まいと思う
- E.g. 話すまいと思う [I think that I will not speak]
- E.g. 食べるまいと思う [I think thatI will not eat]
- ようとおもう (ようと思う in kanji) expresses the speaker’s decision or desire to do something. It translates to “I think that I will do X“.
- E.g. 私は日本歴史を読もうと思う。[I think I will read Japanese history.]
- When the subject is not the first person, the nonpast form と思うcan NOT be used. The reason is that と思う refers specifically to the first person’s internal feelings. When the subject is not the first person, the stative form と思っている can be used instead.
- E.g. *森さんはワープロを買おうと思います。[Mori-san thinks he will buy a word processor.] The simple nonpast formと思う can not be used with a third person subject.
- E.g. 森さんはワープロを買おうと思っています。[Mori-san is thinking of buying a word processor.] The stative form と思っている CAN be used with a third person subject.
- ようと思う can not be used in an interrogative sentence, because the subject of an interrogative sentence is the second person. つもり may be used instead with interrogative sentences to convey the same concept.
- E.g. *あの本を読もうと思いますか。[Do you think you will read that book?]
- E.g. あの本を読むつもりですか。[Do you intend to read that book?]
- The negative form of ようと思う is まいと思う, and the two conjugate slightly differently. Specifically, ようと思う is comprised of a volitional form verb + と思う, whereas まいと思う is comprised of an informal nonpast verb + まいと思う.
- E.g. 私はもう酒を飲むまいと思う。[I think I will not drink sake anymore.]
- E.g. 僕はあの人とはもう話すまいと思う。[I think I will not speak with that person any more.]
- The verb that precedes ようと思う must be a controllable, volitional verb (i.e. an action that the speaker can actually control or moderate through his or her volition). Thus, potential and passive verbs generally do not work unless the speaker perceives the passive situation as somehow controllable.
- E.g. たまには先生に褒められようと思う。[I think I will do my best to be praised by my teacher every once in a while.] This example uses a passive verb, but the speaker feels that he can control through his actions the amount of praise that he receives from his teacher.
私は日本歴史を読もうと思う。[I think I will read Japanese history.]
私はもう酒を飲むまいと思う。[I think I will not drink sake anymore.]
夏休みに日本アルプスに登ろうと思います。[I think I will climb the Japanese Alps during summer vacation.]
森さんはワープロを買おうと思っています。[Mori-san is thinking of buying a word processor.]
僕はあの人とはもう話すまいと思う。[I think I will not speak with that person any more.]
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