Request : 気にする vs 気になる = kinisuru vs kininaru

October 20, 2011 in Grammar, Vocabulary


= Mata debu tte iwareta…

= Somebody called me I am fat again…


= Sensei, amari kinishinaide kudasai.

= Don’t worry about it so much, Teach.


= Saikin Nino no koto ga kininaru…

= Recently I think about Nino often…/ I kind of like Nino now.

Hi everyone!

Today’s lesson is from a question from my Twitter follower, Yuki!

She asked me what is the difference between 気になる(= kininaru ) and 気にする ( = kininsuru) and in what situation we use them.

It is too hard to answer this question on Twitter, so I made this lesson for her. Hope this lesson helps all of you!

I made a lesson about ( = ki) two years ago.

As I explained,  (= ki)  means “feeling, sentiment, mind, air”, or something more profound or spiritual, like “active (life) energy” , “undefinable power”, or “prana”.

Japanese people have respected this invisible energy since ancient times.

Of course there are tons of idioms with ( = ki) but I will just focus on 気になる(= kininaru ) and 気にする ( = kininsuru) today.

First look at the pictures above,

:w: The first picture :


= Mata debu tte iwareta…

= Somebody called  me I am fat again…

Note : 言われた (= iwareta )is actually a passive form. “I was told/ I was called”


= Sensei, amari kinishinaide kudasai.

= Don’t worry about it so much, Teach.

So 気にする(=kinisuru) means to mind, to care, to worry about something (usually something negative)

:ee: The second picture :


= Saikin Nino no koto ga kininaru…

= Recently I think about Nino often…/ I kind of like Nino now.

And 気になる(= kininaru) means something/someone – interests you/ makes you think about it/them / catches your attention / makes you feel curious

Now let’s compare the following sentences.

a) あの噂が気になる

= Ano uwasa ga ki ni naru

b) あの噂を気にする

= Ano uwasa wo ki ni suru

Vocabulary : (= uwasa) : rumors, gossip

There is a clear difference between a) and b)

While a) means you are just curious about the gossip b) means you have something to do with the rumor (possibly people are talking about you) and you are brooding over it.

But sometimes 気にする(= kinisuru)and 気になる (= kininaru) are interchangeable.


c) マギーは太ったと言われたことをずっと気にしていました。
= Maggie wa futotta to iwareta koto wo zutto kini shite imashita.

d) マギーは太ったと言われたことがずっと気になっていました。
= Maggie wa futotta to iwareta koto ga zutto kini natte imashita.

The direct translation of d) is Being told she has put on weight has been bothering Maggie.

But we would translate the both sentences,

c) + d)  Maggie has been brooding ever since someone told her she put some weight.



:i: Pay attention to the particles :

!to right!気にする ( = ~ wo ki ni suru)

:rrrr: ( = wo) an object marker

You worry about something

!to right!気になる ( = ~ ga ki ni naru)

:rrrr: ( = ga) a subject marker

Something/Someone – bothers you / makes you curious / interests you

Other difference :

!star! You can make a negative imperative sentences with 気にす (= ki ni suru)

Don’t worry about it. / Don’t let it bother you. / Never mind

:rrrr: 気にしないで下さい。(=  Ki ni shinai de kudasai.) formal

気にしないで ( = Ki ni shinai de) casual

気にするな ( = Ki ni suru na) blunt

お気になさらないで下さい。(= o ki ni nasaranai de kudasai.) very polite

But you can’t make a negative imperative sentences with 気になる (= kininaru)

:rrrr: We don’t say,

  X 気にならないで下さい。(= Kininaranai de kudasai) / 気にならないで (= ki ni naranai de) / 気になるな (= ki ni naruna)

Now I will show you the difference with more example sentences.

!CHECKHEART! 気にする (= kinisuru)

to worry about something, to be concerned about something, to brood over something, to mind something

Ex. 試験の結果を気にする
= Shiken no kekka wo ki ni suru

= to worry about the result of the exam.

Note : This could be before or after you get the results.

Ex. 彼はいつも人の意見を気にしている。

= Kare wa itsumo hito no iken wo ki ni shite iru.
= He always worries about what other people think.

Ex. 上司に嫌なことを言われても気にしないでね。

= Joushi ni iyana koto wo iwarete mo ki ni shinai dene.
= Don’t  worry even if your boss says something annoying.

to be sensitive about ~ , to pay attention

Ex. 細かいことは気にしないで下さい。

= Komakai koto wa ki ni shinai de kudasai.
= Don’t worry about the small things.

Ex. マギー先生はそんなささいなことは気にしない

= Maggie sensei wa sonna sasai na koto wa ki ni shinai.
= Maggie sensei doesn’t worry about the small things.

Ex. 最近、外見を気にしてばかりいる男性が増えてきた。

= Saikin gaiken wo ki ni shite bakari iru dansei ga fuete kita.
=There are more and more men who are concerned about their own appearance

Ex. せっかくの初デートなのに彼 は時間ばかり気にしていた。

= Sekkaku no hatsu deito nano ni kare wa jikan bakari ki ni shite ita.
= It was our first date, but  he just kept looking at his watch.

★To care about someone or something.

Ex. 母はいつも私がちゃんと食べているか気にしている。

= Haha wa itsumo watashi ga chanto tabete iru ka ki ni shite iru.
= My mother always worries if I am eating properly or not.

Ex. いつも私のこと、気にしてくれてありがとう!

= Itsumo watashi no koto ki  ni shite kurete arigatou!
= Thank you for always caring about me.

:rrrr: There is a similar idiom , 気にかける (= ki ni kakeru) but it shows deeper concerns.



to be disturbing / to get one’s nerve (negative)

Ex. 隣に座った人のヘッドホンからの音もれが気になる

= Tonari ni suwatta hito no heddohon kara no otomore ga ki ni naru.
= The sound leakage from the headphone of the person who sits next to me bothers me.

Ex. あいつのあの笑い方が気になる

= Aitsu no ano warai kata ga ki ni naru.
=The way he laughs gets on my nerve.

Ex. 長年一緒に住んでいると相手のやること一つ一つが気になってくる。

= Naganen issho ni sunde iru to aite no yaru koto hitotsu hitotsu ga ki ni natte kuru.

= Since we’ve lived together so long, every single thing he does gets on my nerves.

to worry about / to be concerned about

Ex. 1) 今月の電気代が気になる

= Kongetsu no denkidai ga ki ni naru.
= I’m worried about  the electric bill this month.

Ex. 2) 父の容態が気になる

= Chichi no youtai ga ki ni naru.
= I am concerned about my father’s condition.

Note : Ex.1) and Ex.2) can be replaced with を気にする(= wo ki ni suru)

If you say


= Chichi no youtai ga shinpai da.

We can tell the (medical) condition of his father is very critical and the speaker really worries about his condition.

Ex. 二の腕の脂肪が気になってきた。

= Ninoude no shibou ga ki ni natte kita.
The fat of my upper arms has started to bother me.

Ex. この中から気になる症状がありますか?

= Kono naka kara ki ni naru shoujou ga arimasu ka?
= Are there any symptoms which bother you?

Ex. 田舎に住んでから早起きが気にならなくなった。

= Inaka ni sunde kara hayaoki ga ki ni naranaku natta.
= Since  I moved to the country, I don’t mind getting up early.

to be curious about, to catch one’s attention

Ex. あのドラマの結末が気になる

= Ano dorama no ketsumatsu ga ki ni naru.
= I am curious about how the drama ends.

Ex. 最近、気になる女の子がいる。

= Saikin ki ni naru onna no ko ga iru.
= There is a girl that I like / am interested in lately.

Ex. 誰か気になる人がいるの?

= Dare ka ki ni naru hito ga iru no?
= Is there anybody you like?

* It is often used for romantic interests.

Note : Japanese culture is very vague (曖昧= aimai lesson) and often avoids straight expressions.

:qq: Now when you use a verb with 気になる(= kininaru) it’s different from the above examples,

:rrrr: verb + 気になる (= kininaru) means to feel like doing something / to be motivated to do something

:rrrr: ~する気になる = ~ suru ki ni naru

Ex. やっと勉強する気になってきた。
= Yatto benkyou suru ki ni natte kita.

= I finally feel like studying.

Ex. 本人がやる気になるまで待ちましょう。
= Honnin ga yaru ki ni naru made machimashou.

= Let’s wait until she/he feels like doing/ get more motivated.

:yy: There is a common set phrase that uses both 気にする (= kini suru) and 気になる (= ki ni naru)

Ex. 気にするなと言われても気になる

= Ki ni suruna to iwarete mo ki ni naru.

= Even though people tell me not to worry, it bothers me. (I can’t help thinking about it.)

!onpu! Bonus!!

When we hear  気になる (= kininaru), many of us automatically link the word with this long run TV commercial song called 日立の樹 (= Hitachi no ki)

The lyrics goes,

!onpu! この木なんの木、気になる木、

= Kono ki nan no ki, ki ni naru ki

=What kind of tree is this? This tree makes me wonder


= Namae mo shiranai ki desu kara

=Since we don’t know the name of the tree,


= Namae mo shiranai ki ni naru deshou.

= It will be a tree without a name.

It is a pun with (=ki), tree and(=ki)

Actually the tree has a name,  Monkeypod, and it is found in Hawaii.

Many Japanese tourists keep visiting this tree in  the Moanalua Gardens in Oahu where the commercial was shot.
I wonder what Hawaiian people think about this phenomenon.
I have been there as a Japanese tourist,too. And yes,  it was a beautiful tree.

マギー先生より = Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei


= Saikin dare ka ki ni naru hito wa imasu ka?

= Is there anybody you are interested in recently?