ばかり(= bakari)

bakari

:maggie-small: 「お腹すいた…」

= Onaka suita…

= I’m hungry…

!nemui! 「さっき、食べたばかりじゃない。」

= Sakki tabeta bakarijanai.

= But you just ate, you know.


Hi everyone!
I posted a lesson on ~たて(=tate) = just did something, freshly made, just recently. In that lesson, I explained
the verbs you can use 〜 たて(=tate)  are limited and if it doesn’t work, use ~ばかり(=bakari).
So today’s lesson is how to use ばかり(=bakari) and I will teach you something extra for those who already know how to use

:kkk: ~たばかり(=tabakari)

Here we go!!

1) Just did something / Just finished doing something

!candy! How to form :

verb (past tense ) + ばかり(=bakari) = just did something

*食べる = taberu = to eat

:rrrr: (past tense) 食べた= tabeta = ate + ばかり(=bakari)

:rrrr: 食べたばかり(=tabeta bakari) = just ate

Ex. A : 「これどうぞ」

= Kore douzo

= (Serving food) Here you are.

B : 「いえ、結構です。今、食べたばかりなので」

= Ie kekkou desu. Ima tabeta bakari nanode.

= No thank you. I just ate  so…

Ex. 試験が終わったばかりです。

= Shiken ga owatta bakari desu.

=I just finished an exam.

Ex. マギーは別れたばかりだ。

= Maggie wa wakareta bakari da.

= Maggie  just broke up.

Ex. 彼は今、起きたばかりだから機嫌が悪い。

= Kare wa ima okita bakari dakara kigen ga warui.

= He just woke up so he is in a bad mood.

Ex. 日本に来たばかりの頃は日本語が全く話せなかった。

= Nihon ni kita bakari no koro wa nihongo ga mattaku hanasenakatta.

= When I just came to Japan, I didn’t speak Japanese at all.

******

2) only /just (something)

:pinkcandy2: How to form :

noun + ばかり = only ~, just ~ 

Ex. あのクラスにはかわいい女の子ばかりいる。

=  Ano kurasu ni wa kawaii onnanoko bakari iru.

= There are only cute girls in that class.

Ex. 文句ばかり言っていないで働いたら?

= Monku bakari itte inai de hataraitara?

= Quit complaining  and start working!

Ex. お金ばかりがすべてではない。

= Okane bakari ga subete dewa nai.

= Money is not everything.

Ex. 甘いものばかり食べると太ります。

= Amai mono bakari taberu to futorimasu.

= If you only eat sweets, you will gain weight.

Ex. 同じ間違いばかりしている。

= Onaji machigai bakari shiteiru.

= I’m making the same mistakes over and over.

Ex. 時間ばかりかかる仕事

= Jikan bakari kakaru shigoto

= Time consuming work

Note 1)  There is a colloquial ways to say ばかり(=bakari)

:rrrr: ばっか(=bakka) or ばっかり(=bakkari)

Ex. 1週間前に会ったばっか(or ばっかりで彼にデートに誘われた。

= Ishuukan mae ni atta bakka (or bakkari) de kare ni deito ni sasowareta.

= We just met a week ago and he asked me out on a date.

Ex.かわいい子ばっかに優しいね。

= Kawaii ko bakka ni yasashiine.

= You are nice to only cute girls, aren’t you?

Note 2) Not only but also :ばかりではなく=  bakari dewa naku / 〜ばかり(=bakarika)

Ex. 私は犬ばかりではなく猫も好きです。

= Watashi wa inu bakari dewa naku neko mo suki desu.

= Not only do I like dogs, I also like cats.

Ex. 彼は日本語が話せるばかりではなく漢字もたくさん知っている。

= Kare wa nihongo ga hanaseru bakari dewa naku kanji mo takusan shitteiru.

= Not only does he know how to speak Japanese but he also knows a lot of kanji.

Ex. マギー先生は犬語ばかりか日本語も話せる。

= Maggie sensei wa inugo bakari ka nihongo mo hanaseru.

= Not only does Maggie Sensei speak dog language but she also speaks Japanese.

3) approximately, about, roughly, …or so

● time unit/ counter unit + ばかり(=bakari)

Ex.100万円ばかり儲けた。

= Hyakuman en bakari mouketa.

= I made about one million yen.

Ex. 2時間ばかりで着くと思います。

= Nijikan bakari de tsuku to omoimasu .

= I think we will be arriving in  two hours or so.

Ex. 千人ばかりの人が集まった。

= Sennin bakari no hito ga atsumatta.

= About one thousand people gathered.

4) only do/does / doing something / always do/does/doing something

verb (=te)((~de)) form +ばかり(=bakari)

Ex. マギーは寝てばかりいる。

= Maggie wa nete bakari iru.

= Maggie is always sleeping.

Ex. 遊んでばかりいてはいけません。

= Asonde bakari ite wa ikemasen.

= You can’t just play all the time.

Ex. いつもマギーに御馳走になってばかりいます。

= Itsumo Maggie ni gochisou ni natte bakari imasu.

(I am always treated by Maggie) 

= Maggie always treats me.

Note : This form is usually use to describe one’s habitual behavior/actions.

verb plain form + ばかり(=bakari),

(1) do nothing but…, all you do is ~

Ex. 人に頼るばかりの人生ではいけない。

= Hito ni tayoru bakari no jinsei dewa ikenai.

= We shouldn’t just depend on someone in life.

Ex. 彼女は、何を言っても泣くばかりだ。

= Kanojo wa nani wo itte mo naku bakarida.

= Whatever I said, she was just crying.

Ex. 彼は自分の自慢話をするばかりで人の話は何も聞かない。

= Kare wa   jibun no jimanbanashi wo surubakari de hito no hanashi wa nani mo kikanai.

= He always brags about himself and never listens to others.

Ex. 物事はこれからよくなるばかりだと思いたい。

= Monogoto wa kore kara yoku naru bakari dato omoitai.

= I want to believe that things can only get better.

Ex. 娘の幸せを願うばかりだ。

= Musume no shiawase wo negau bakarida.

= I just hope my daughter’s happiness. (That’s all.)
/ All I wish for is my daughter’s happiness.

(2) You did everything and all you need to do is to do ~ / to be ready to do something

Ex. あとは壁にペンキを塗るばかりだ。

= Ato wa kabe ni penki wo nuru bakari da.

= All we need to do now is to paint the wall.

Ex. やっと全ての料理ができた。あとは招待客が来るのを待つばかりだ。

= Yatto subete no ryouri ga dekita. Ato wa shoutaikyaku ga kuru no wo matsu bakarida.

= I just finished all the cooking now. All we need to do is just to wait for the guests.

So far so good?
Let’s see you can tell the difference between following sentences.

1) マギーはおやつを食べたばかりだ。
= Maggie wa oyatsu wo tabeta bakari da.]
= Maggie just had a snack.

2) マギーはおやつばかり食べている。
= Maggie wa oyatsu bakari tabete iru.
= Maggie only eats a snack.

3) マギーはおやつを食べてばかりいる。
= Maggie wa okashi wo tabete bakari iru.
= All Maggie does is eat a snack.

So you have to pay attention what word comes before ばかり(=bakari)

adjective + ばかり =just (negative meaning)

Ex. あのホテルは高いばかりでサービスは、最低だった。
= Ano hoteru wa takai bakari de sabisu wa saitei datta.
= Although the hotel was expensive but the service was horrible.

Ex. 外見がきれいなばかりで中身がない
= Gaiken ga kireina bakari de nakami ga nai
beautiful on the outside but no substance

*******
OK, now this part is for advanced level :

:u:

5) to give a reason, just because someone did something+ unpleasant thing happened.
(showing your regrets)

● (verb) past tense + ばかり(=bakarini) :

You did something and it leads to a negative consequence.

Ex. 私が余計なことを言ってしまったばかりにこんなことになっちゃって…

= Watashi ga yokeina koto wo itte shimatta bakari ni konna koto ni nacchatte…

= (I am sorry) I said something I shouldn’t have and it turned out this way…

Ex. 彼の言うことを聞いたばかりにひどい目に遭った。

= Kare no iu koto wo kiita bakari ni hidoi me ni atta.

= I got in a big trouble just because I listened to him.

Ex. パーティーに行ったばかりに会いたくなかった人に会ってしまった。

= Paatei ni itta bakari ni aitaku nakatta hito ni atte shimatta.

= Because I went to the party, I saw (I ended up seeing) someone I’d been avoiding.

adjective + ばかり(=bakarini) : just because

Ex.背が低いばかりにモデルになれない。
= Se ga hikui bakari ni moderu ni narenai.
= Just because I am short, I can’t be a model.

Ex. 私がきれいなばかりにたくさんの男の人を苦しめてきました。 :maggie-small:

=Watashiga kireina bakari ni takusan no otokono hito wo kurushimete kimashita. (Maggie dan)

= Since I am too beautiful, I made many men suffer.

6)  almost, ready to ~, you did everything and the only thing you have to do now is ~

 verb plain form + ばかり(=bakari)

Ex. もう料理は温めるばかりだ。

= Mou ryouri wa atatameru bakarida.

= (The food is ready. The only thing we have to do is just to heat it up.)

= The food is just need to be heated up.

Ex. あとはマギーの帰りを待つばかりです。

= Ato wa Maggie no kaeri wo matsu bakari desu.

= (I have done everything and the only thing I should do is to wait for Maggie to come back home.)

= I just wait for Maggie to come home now.

7)firmly thought/ believed something (but it was not what I had thought.)

verb, noun, adjective (もの(だ))とばかり(=(mono(da)) to bakari) just + 思っていた(=omotte ita)

Ex.マギー先生は人間だとばかり思っていた。

= Maggie sensei wa ningen dato bakari omotte ita.

= I just thought Maggie Sensei was a human. (But she is not.)

Ex. 日本語はもっと難しいものだとばかり思っていた。

= Nihongo wa motto muzuashii mono da to bakari omotteita.

= I just thought Japanese was more difficult. (But it’s not.)

Ex. ただでもらえるものだとばかり思っていたのに…

= Tada de moraeru mono dato bakari omotte itanoni….

= I thought they would give me free (but they charged money after all.)

8) as if to ~ (emphasizing)

noun/ quote + ばかり(=tobakari)

Ex. 彼女はこの時とばかりに不満をぶちまけた。

= Kanojo wa kono toki to bakari ni fuman wo buchimaketa.

= She took advantage of the opportunity to vent  her frustration.

Ex. ここぞとばかりに写真を一杯撮った。

= kokozo to bakari ni shashin wo ippai totta.

= I took a lot of pictures taking advantage of the opportunity.

Ex. 彼はもうこの件はおしまいだとばかりに話題を変えた。

= Kare wa mou kono ken wa oshimaida to bakari ni wadai wo kaeta.

= He changed the subject as if to say the case was over.

9) on the verge of doing something/ almost doing something

verb + ばかり(=n bakari)

!candy! How to form :

1) verb plain form 言う=iu = to say

2) make a negative form of a verb

:rrrr: 言わない= iwanai = not to say

3) delete ない and add

:rrrr: 言わ=iwa+(=n)

:rrrr:言わん

4) add ばかり(=bakari

:rrrr:〜と言わんばかり

= to iwan bakari

= as much as to say

:i: Irregular : する(=suru) →せん(=sen)

Note : Basic pattern:

*〜と言わんばかり(=to iwan bakari) + (=no) + noun〜 as much as to say/ as if to say 〜

*〜と言わんばかり(=to iwan bakari) +(=ni) + verb = to do something as if to say, as much as to say

Describing someone’s action assuming their feeling or what they are trying to say.

Ex. 彼は全て知っていると言わんばかりに私を見た。

= Kare wa subete wo shitteiru to iwanbakari ni watashi wo mita.

= He  looked at me as if to say he knew everything.

Ex. ごめんなさいと言わんばかりの悲しい顔

= Gomennasai to iwan bakari no kanashii kao.

= A sad face as if to say “I am sorry!”

****************
Here are more examples with other verbs.

Ex. 今にも泣かんばかりの顔

= Ima ni mo nakanbakari no kao.

= Almost crying face. (the face on the verge of crying)

Ex. 溢れんばかりの涙

= Afuren bakari no namida

= one’s eyes filled with tears (the literal meaning is “tears almost welling up in one’s eyes.”)

Note : It is similar to 〜そう(=sou) almost

(泣きそう=nakisou / 溢れそう=afuresou )

*Related lesson : ~ そう(=sou)

:i: ~そう(=sou) is conversational and ばかり(=nbakari) is more literal.

maggie-senseiマギー先生より= Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

ドッグフードばかりではなくたまには美味しい唐揚げも食べさせて!

= Doggufuudo bakari dewa naku tamaniwa oishii karaage mo tabesasete.

= I hope you don’t just  give me dog food but let me have some delicious fried chicken once in a while!

Special Note for French Speakers.

Your friend, Marianne translated this lesson in French. I posted on my Facebook page.

Click here.

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42 Comments

  1. Hi Maggie Sensei, I am confused with this two. What is the difference? look similar to me except one uses て while the other use plain form.

    verb て(=te)(で(~de)) form +ばかり(=bakari)
    4) only do/does / doing something / always do/does/doing something
    遊んでばかりいてはいけません。
    You can’t just play all the time.

    verb plain form + ばかり(=bakari)
    (1) do nothing but…, all you do is ~
    人に頼るばかりの人生ではいけない。
    We shouldn’t just depend on someone in life.

    1. @Max

      Hi Max
      In the following pattens you can use them in the same way.

      a) verb plain form + ばかり+だ/です/だった/でした。
      b) verb て form + ばかり+だ/です/だった/でした。
      彼は、泣くばかりだった。
      彼は、泣いてばかりだった。
      He does nothing but crying.

      As for my examples,

      て/でばかり
      You can’t say V dictionary form ばかりいてはいけない。
      X 遊ぶばかりいてはいけません。
      You have to use て form.

      The second example can be replaced.
      頼る(Verb plain form) ばかり+ の+ 人生 modifies a noun, in this case 人生

      You can say 頼んでばかりの人生 as well.

  2. Hello! :) Thank you so much for your lessons! They’re always so detailed and I learn a lot.
    Although I’ve read this one as well, I came across a sentence which I can’t totally get the meaning of ばっかり. The sentence is ‘将来、デビューしたいけど、もしできなくても悲観ばっかりはしないです’. Does it mean something like ‘I want to debut in the future but, if I’m not able to, I won’t be disappointed.’?
    Thank you so much! ^^

    1. @Aida

      Hi Aida,
      We don’t usually say 悲観ばっかりする・しない
      I think he meant “悲観的(な気持ちばかり)になる・ならない”

      So basically he is saying “将来、デビューしたいけど、もしできなくても(Though he would love to make a debut in future) もしできなくても(=even if he can’t)
      悲観的(な気持ちばかり)にならない He won’t just stay pessimistic

  3. Hello Maggie!
    Even after your lesson I still couldn’t figure out this sentence:
    好きなことばっかり書いているブログですが、私のブログブログもよろしくお願いします。
    Even though this lesson was really helpfull! :k:

    1. @Nana
      Hi Nana

      So 好きなことばかり書く= sukina koto bakari kaku = to write only what you like
      ばっかり is a casual way to say ばかり
      So the person says he/she just writes what he/she likes on his/her blog.
      But he/she wants you to visit.

  4. やっほマギー^ ^ お久しぶりですね!
    Maggie, I found in my grammar book (ばかりに lesson) an idiom and I don’t know, if I translate it correctly.
    男の風上にも置けない奴 (in: 出世したいばかりに、恋人を裏切り、社長令嬢と結婚するなんて男の風上にも置けない奴だ。)
    I think 男の風上にも置けない奴 = He doesn’t desire to be called a man / It’s a shame to called him a man / He is not to be treated as a man / He is just a disgrace to the man.

    Which translation fits here (in this sentence) the best, in your opinion?
    「…の風上にも置けない…」の2~3文を作ってくださいませんか。

    ヨロシク!

    1. @天人

      やっほ〜〜2u2!
      Your translation of 風上にも置けない is correct.
      Usually 男の〜、人の〜 and it describes a despicable person who takes advantage of others.

      Ex. 盗んだカードで旅行に行くなんて人の風上にも置けない。
      Ex. 女性に暴力をふるうなんて男の風上にも置けない。

    1. @hoshi

      Yes, it’s true.
      te/de bakari / noun bakari tend to express complaint because when a person only does something, other people may get annoyed, right?

      Ex. 彼女は文句を言ってばかりいる。She is always complaining.
      Ex. 彼はおしゃべりばかりしていて何も仕事をしていない。All he does is chatting and he doesn’t do any work.

      But it is not always used to express complaints.

      For example when you feel guilt,
      Ex いつも頂いてばかりですみません。= I am sorry I am always getting something from you.

  5. お久しぶり、マギー先生! I have a few questions.

    1. I’m a little bit confused about the difference between ばかり and ばかりで…

    あのホテルは高いばかりでサービスは、最低だった。
    外見がきれいなばかりで中身がない

    Why did you use で instead of なのに in these sentences?

    2. How would you translate this sentence (from the comments)?

    このレストランは安いばかりです。 “This restaurant is just cheap”? Isn’t that a good thing, though? It sounds odd, as if the sentence was incomplete.

    3. I found this example sentence somewhere:

    今にも雨が降り出さんばかりの空模様だ。

    Why is it 降り出さんばかり, and not 降りだせんばかり?

    1. @Marianne

      こんにちは、Marianne!
      1. ばかり and ばかりで :で has a function of giving a reason so ばかりで is used when you continue the sentence.
      →something is too ~ “so”/ “and” + ~~~

      (な)のに means “although/though/even if/even though” and you have to give the contradicted result.
      If you want to use (な)のに in those sentence,
      あのホテルは高いのにサービスは最低だった。
      外見がきれいなのに中身がない

      2. Isn’t that a good thing, though?→Not necessary. Even if the restaurant serves cheap food, what is the quality of food is bad, the service is horrible or dirty?

      3. It is a literal expression but 降り出さないばかり→ない contracted to ん→ 降りださんばかり

      あのホテルは高いばかりでサービスは、最低だった。= The hotel is just to
      外見がきれいなばかりで中身がない

  6. おはようございます!
    I really love your site. There are tons of useful examples. Thank you so much ^^
    I’m studying Japanese by Soumatome N3, but the problem is that there’s no explanations, not so many examples. Thus it’s quite difficult for me to master new grammar ><
    Could you please give me some examples based on this:
    Noun/Verb(te form)+ ばかり/ばかりだ/ばかりのNoun/ばかりで
    Thank you :)

    1. @Masami

      こんばんは、Masami!
      I’m very happy to hear you like our site. :)
      As for your request,

      Noun/Verb(te form)+ ばかり/ばかりだ/ばかりのNoun/ばかりで

      You mean
      Noun/Verb(te form)+ ばかり/ばかりだ/ばかりのNoun+ばかりで
      two ばかり in one sentence???

      1. こんばんは、
        Sorry I must have made myself clearer. I meant:

        Noun ばかり
        Verb(te form) + ばかりだ
        ばかりのNoun
        ばかりで

        1. @Masami

          So you want more examples with these patterns? Sure.

          *Noun ばかり
          Ex.私のクラスは面白い生徒ばかりだ・いる。
          = All the students in my class are funny.

          *ばかりのNoun
          Ex.女性ばかりのチーム
          = A team just with women

          *Verb(te form) + ばかりだ
          Ex.彼はいつも寝てばかりだ。
          = He does nothing but sleeping.

          *ばかりで
          Ex.今、家に帰ったばかりで何も夕食の準備が出来ていない。
          = I just came back home and I haven’t prepared dinner at all.

  7. こんにちは、マギー先生!

    ちょっと質問があるんですが、本で「言わんばかり」という表現が出てきて、もし良ければ、意味と使い方説明していただきませんか?

    1. @Lava

      おはよう、Lava!
      言わんばかり means “as if to say” “as much as to say””as though” (Someone(something) is not actually saying so but you can tell they want to say/do certain things by their behavior/condition )
      It is often used with まるで(=marude = as if)

      Basic pattern :
      (まるで)〜〜〜と言わんばかりのnounで or 言わんばかりに+ main verb
      = Someone does/did something (main verb) as if to say ~~~~~~

      Ex.母はまるで私のやっていることは全て知っていると言わんばかりの顔で私を見た。
      = My mother looked at me as if she knew everything.

      Ex. マギー先生は「大丈夫だよ」と言わんばかりにうなずいた。
      = Maggie Sensei nodded as if to say “Everything is all right”.

      Ex.そのダイヤは「私を買って下さい。」と言わんばかりに輝いていた。
      = That diamond was shining as if to say “Buy me!”

  8. Hello, I found a sentence with some sort of interesting(at least for me) ばかり usage -「 あたしは、形とばかり並べられた陶器のティーセットに手を伸ばす。」, I understand that the meaning would be something like “the teacups was lined up just for show”, but what is the point of putting と before ばかり in this case, can you please explain this part to me? Thank you very much!

    1. @Darkakira

      Hello Darkakira,
      Yes the meaning is correct. I found it is a bit strange to use と. We usually don’t put と and say ~とばかりに並べられた。I’d just say 形ばかりに並べられた
      I guess the writer used と just to emphasize the meaning.

      1. Sensei, I just want to confirm:
        Verb plain form + bakari has two nuances:
        ●do nothing but…, all you do is ~
        Ex. 彼女は、何を言っても泣くばかりだ.

        ●almost, ready to ~, you did everything and the only thing you have to do now is ~

        Ex. もう料理は温めるばかりだ。

  9. thank you for the lesson maggie sensei!
    somehow i wonder is there any relation between ばかり and ばっかり?
    Is it the same or like, the former one is more formal while the latter is just the speaking accent?

    1. @cyphoncofe

      Hello cyphoncofe!
      Ah good one!
      It is another colloquial way to say ばかり(=bakari) besides ばっか(=bakka)
      I will add that information. :)

  10. Sensei, this was a sweet follow up lesson to “~tate”. :D After the “tate” lesson I thought about looking up a previous lesson from sensei in which she touched the usage of “bakari” to review the usage of the word a little, but with this comprehensive lesson that is not necessary anymore, this one is great. XD

    I liked the part in the lesson for “to bakari ni”, this pattern may come in handy in the future. :D Hopefully I can use it soon. XD

    One question sensei. Is the “n + bakari” pattern colloquial or can it be used in any circumstances without getting a superior stirred up? XD

    Thank you sensei. :)

    1. @NecroMadMat

      I am very happy to hear that.
      Yes, you have to practice a lot to get familiar with ばかり.
      Ah good point. Usually ん is used for a casual contraction but n+bakari is a literal expression. You may not hear often in everyday conversation but you will see in the writing form more.

      1. Oh so it is more likely to see “n+bakari” used in writing, more so than in conversations.

        I bet if I use this pattern around in conversation I would give the impression I learned Japanese from books. XD

          1. Really! sensei? I better get this pattern down asap, seems it may come in handy. XD

  11. Also, in an Anki deck I found the form “i-adjective + ばかり”:

    このレストランは安いばかりです。

    I guess that it looks more or less like the category 2.

    1. @Fabimaru

      こんにちは、Fabimaru!
      Good! I added adjective + ばかり.
      ********
      As for your question, although they are not exactly the same, they could be interchangeable if you change a little.

      マギーは寝てばかりいる。
      =マギーは寝るばかりだ。

      遊んでばかりいてはいけません。
      =遊ぶばかりではいけません。

      いつもマギーに御馳走になってばかりいます。
      =マギーに御馳走になるばかりです。

      人に頼るばかりの人生ではいけない。
      =人に頼ってばかりの人生ではいけない

      彼女は、何を言っても泣くばかりだ。
      = 彼女は何を言っても泣いてばかりいる。

      彼は自分の自慢話をするばかりで人の話は何も聞かない。
      =彼は自分の自慢話をしてばかりで人の話は何も聞かない。

      物事はこれからよくなるばかりだと思いたい。
      →Can’t replace it with て form

      娘の幸せを願うばかりだ。
      →Can’t replace it with て form

      1. Sensei, one thing about these examples you provided:

        彼女は、何を言っても泣くばかりだ。
        = 彼女は何を言っても泣いてばかりいた。

        Shouldn’t the second sentence end in: “bakari iru”?

  12. Do the 2 verbal form you explain in section 4 (verb in て form and plain form) can be used interchangeably?

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