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ようとおもう / まいとおもう

ようとおもう / まいとおもう

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

Construction: 

  • Verb informal volitional + とおも
    • E.g はなそうとおも [I think that I will speak]
    • E.g. べようとおも [I think that I will eat]
  • Verb informal nonpast + まいとおも
    • E.g. はなすまいとおも [I think that I will not speak]
    • E.g. べるまいとおも [I think thatI will not eat]

Notes:

  • ようとおもう (ようとおもう in kanji) expresses the speaker’s decision or desire to do something. It translates to “I think that I will do X“.
    • E.g. わたし日本歴史にほんれきしもうとおもう。[I think I will read Japanese history.]
  • When the subject is not the first person, the nonpast form とおもうcan NOT be used. The reason is that とおもう refers specifically to the first person’s internal feelings. When the subject is not the first person, the stative form とおもっている can be used instead.
    • E.g. *もりさんはワープロをおうとおもいます。[Mori-san thinks he will buy a word processor.] The simple nonpast formとおもう can not be used with a third person subject.
    • E.g. もりさんはワープロをおうとおもっています。[Mori-san is thinking of buying a word processor.] The stative form とおもっている CAN be used with a third person subject.
  • ようとおもう 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. *あのほんもうとおもいますか。[Do you think you will read that book?]
    • E.g. あのほんむつもりですか。[Do you intend to read that book?]
  • The negative form of ようとおもう is まいとおもう, and the two conjugate slightly differently. Specifically, ようとおもう is comprised of a volitional form verb + とおもう, whereas まいとおもう is comprised of an informal nonpast verb + まいとおもう.
    • E.g. わたしはもうさけむまいとおもう。[I think I will not drink sake anymore.]
    • E.g. ぼくはあのひととはもうはなすまいとおもう。[I think I will not speak with that person any more.]
  • The verb that precedes ようとおもう 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. たまには先生せんせいめられようとおもう。[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.

Example Sentences:

わたし日本歴史にほんれきしもうとおもう。[I think I will read Japanese history.]

わたしはもうさけむまいとおもう。[I think I will not drink sake anymore.]

夏休なつやすみに日本にほんアルプスにのぼろうとおもいます。[I think I will climb the Japanese Alps during summer vacation.]

もりさんはワープロをおうとおもっています。[Mori-san is thinking of buying a word processor.]

ぼくはあのひととはもうはなすまいとおもう。[I think I will not speak with that person any more.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line at 0:40: 今年ことしこそなにはじめようとうんだ [I think that I will for sure start something this year]
Listen to this line at 1:07: 時代じだいながされてきるのはここでやめようとおも [I think that from here on I will quit being washed away with the times.] You can hear further examples around the 2:20 and 2:53 marks.

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