How to use つい ( = tsui)

「まだおやつもらってないよ。」

= Mada oyatsu moratte naiyo.

= I haven’t gotten a snack yet.

(つい嘘をついちゃう

= Tsui uso wo tsuichau..

= Oops, I lied again.

 Hi I’m Cookie.  I am going to teach you how to use an adverb,  つい ( = tsui) 

Note: You say ついつい ( = tsui tsui) when you emphasize your feelings.

It is often used with Vてしまう ( = te shimau) / (casual form ) ちゃう ( = chau).

You use Vてしまう ( = te shimau) / (casual form ) Vちゃう ( = chau)  when you complete action, 

Ex. 宿題をやってしまう。

= Shukudai wo yatte shimau.

= to finish doing one’s homework. / to have done one’s homework

You also use this form when you do things unintentionally.

Ex. A) 彼女を泣かせてしまった。

= Kanojo wo nakasete shimatta.

= I made her cry.

 :rrrr: Check my ちゃう ( = chau) lesson for more details

By adding つい ( = tsui ) you can add the nuance of “by accident” / “without control” more. 

Ex. B) つい、彼女を泣かせてしまった。

= Tsui, kanojo wo nakasete shimatta.

= (I didn’t mean to do that but) I made her cry. (It was not my intention.) 

When you compare Ex. A) and B), the sentence with つい ( = tsui) (B) emphasizes the fact that the writer /speaker had not intended to make her cry but ended up making her cry.

* When you did things unintentionally, carelessly, by accident 

It often expresses one’s regret feelings. 

Ex. 電車の中でつい居眠りしてしまい一駅、乗り過ごしてしまった。

= Densha no naka de tsui inemuri shite shimai hitoeki, norisugoshite shimatta.

= (I shouldn’t have fall asleep but) I fell asleep on the train and passed my stop by one station. 

Ex. 彼女の前でつい他の女の子がかわいいって言っちゃった。

= Kanojo no mae de tsui hoka no onnano ko ga kawaii tte icchatta.

= (I shouldn’t have said anything but) I told my girlfriend that some other girl is cute without thinking. 

Ex. つい口が滑って中村君のことが好きだって友達に言っちゃった。

= Tsui kuchi ga subette Nakamura-kun no koto ga suki datte tomodachi ni icchatta.

= I accidentally told my friends that I have feelings for Nakamura-kun.

Ex.  ゲームについ夢中になり過ぎて、宿題ができなかった。

= Geemu ni tsui muchuu ni narisugite , shukudai ga dekinakatta. 

= I got so into the game, I ended up not doing my homework.

Ex. 彼の顔を見てつい笑ってしまった。

= Kare no kao ni wo mite tsui waratte shimatta.

= When I saw his face, I couldn’t help laughing. 

Ex. この店の料理は美味しいからついつい食べ過ぎちゃた。

= Kono mise no ryouri wa oishii kara tsuitsui tabesugi chatta.

= The food at this restaurant is so good that I ended up eating too much.

つい ( = tsui) and うっかり ( = ukkari) both mean “carelessly” but you often use them both.

 :u:

Ex. お客さんについうっかりお釣りを多く渡しすぎてしまった。

= Okyaku san ni tsui ukkari otsuri wo ooku watashi sugite shimatta.

= I accidentally gave a customer too much change. 

Ex. 会議中に、ついうっかり方言が出てしまった。

= Kaigichuu ni, tsui ukkari hougen ga dete shimatta.

= I accidentally talked in dialect* in the meeting.

(*literal meaning “dialect came out (from my mouth)) 

Sometimes you just say つい ( = tsui) 

Ex. 「どうして私のおやつを食べちゃったの?」

= Doushite watashi no oyatsu wo tabechatta no?

= Why did you eat my snack?

つい

= Tsui…

= I couldn’t help it….

*Even though you knew you shouldn’t do something, you couldn’t control yourself and did it anyway.

(Expressing the speaker’s regret.)

Ex.  明日は、朝早く起きなければいけないのについ遅くまでテレビを見てしまった。

= Ashita wa, asa hayaku okinakereba ikenai noni tsui osoku made terebi wo mite shimatta.

= Even though I knew I had to get up early tomorrow morning, I ended up staying up late and watching TV.

Ex. 彼はタイプじゃないのについLINEを交換してしまった。

= Kare wa taipu janai noni tsui LINE wo koukan shite shimatta.

= Even though he wasn’t my type, I ended up exchanged LINE contacts with him. 

Ex. 疲れていたのでつい夫に当たってしまった。

= Tsukarete ita node tsui otto ni atatte shimatta.

= I was so tired that I couldn’t help taking out on my husband. 

* talking about one’s habitual tendencies that you can’t control / tend to do / to do things without thinking, agains one’s will

Ex. 給料が入るとつい人に奢りたくなる。

= Kyuuryou ga hairu to tsui hito ni ogoritaku naru.

= Whenever I get paid, I can’t help treating people. 

Ex. 友達と話していてもついスマホを見てしまう。

= Tomodachi to hanashite ite mo tsui sumaho wo mite shimau.

= Even when I am with my friend, I can’t help looking at my smartphone. 

Ex. お酒はやめようと思っているのについつい飲んでしまう。

= Osake wa yameyou to omotte iru noni tsuitsui nonde shimau.

= Although I made up my mind to quit drinking, I ended up drinking. 

Ex. イケメン*が通るとつい見ちゃう。

= Ikemen ga tooru to tsui michau.

= Whenever I pass by a cute guy, I can’t help looking at him. 

(*イケメン = ikemen = slang word for cute/handsome guys) 

Ex. 孫が来るとついついお小遣いをあげてしまう。

= Mago ga kuru to tsuitsui okodukai wo agete shimau.

= Whenever my grandchildren come over, I can’t help giving them pocket money. 

Ex. かわいい子を前にするとつい格好をつけてしまう。

= Kawaii ko wo mae ni suru to tsui kakkou wo tsukete shimau.

= When I am with a cute girl, I can’t help but trying to act cool. 

Ex. 飲み会で、ついはしゃぎすぎて後から反省することが多い。

= Nomikai de, tsui hashagisugite ato kara hansei suru koto ga ooi.

= I often go too crazy at drinking parties and regret it later. 

Ex. 寂しくなるとついつい甘いものを食べてしまう。

= Sabishiku naru to tsuitsui amai mono wo tabete shimau.

= When I feel lonely, I can’t help eating sweets. 

Ex. どんなに彼のことを怒っていてもあの笑顔をみるとつい許してしまう。

= Donnani kare no koto wo okotte ite mo ano egao wo miru to tsui yurushite shimau.

= No matter how angry I am with him, I can’t help but forgive him when I see his smile. 

(I don’t want to forgive him but I forgive him anyway) 

Ex. 昔の話をしていると話がついつい長くなる。

= Mukashi no hanashi wo shite iru to hanashi ga tsuitsui nagaku naru.

= When I talk about the old days, I tend to talk too long.

Ex. 暇だとついつい元カレのフェースブックを見てしまう。

= Himada to tsuitsui moto kare no feesubukku wo mite shimau.

= Whenever I get a free time, I can’t help checking my ex-boyfriend’s facebook page.

 :w: From the picture above

(つい嘘をついちゃう

= Tsui uso wo tsuichau..

= Oops, I lied again.

Note: The Japanese sentence doesn’t have actually have the word “again” in it, but from this sentence it’s apparent I’m in the habit of lying. 

You often use つい ( = tsui) with がち ( = gachi)  when you talk about the tendency. 

(Go check  a lesson on how to use がち ( = gachi).) 

Ex. 忙しいとつい料理も手を抜きがちになる。

= Isogashii to tsui ryouri mo te wo nukigachi ni naru.

= When I am busy, I tend to slack off cooking. 

Ex. バレンタインはつい高いチョコを買いがちだ。

= Barentain wa tsui takai choko wo kai gachi da.

= We tend to buy expensive chocolates for St.Valentine’s Day (without thinking)

* talking about something which just happened. / just recently / just the other day

Ex. ついさっき、健君がきれいな女の子と歩いていたのを見かけたよ。

= Tsui sakki, Ken-kun ga kireina onna no ko to aruite ita no wo mikaketa yo.

= I just saw Ken-kun walking a cute girl. 

Ex. ついこの間までこの道は工事中だった。

= Tsui konoaida made kono michi wa kouji chuu datta.

= Until just recently this street was under construction. 

Ex. つい先日、北海道に行ってきました。

= Tsui senjitsu, Hokkaidou ni itte kimashita.

= I was in Hokkaido just the other day.

Ex. つい先月、日本から帰ったばかりです。

= Tsui sengetsu, nihon kara kaetta bakari desu.

= I just came back from Japan last month.

Ex. つい今しがた奥様からお電話がありました。

= Tsui imashigata okusama kara odenwa ga arimashita.

= You just got a phone call from your wife.

 

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

クッキー、嘘をつくとすぐにベロがでるからばればれだよ。👅

= Cookie, uso wo tsuku to sugu ni bero ga deru kara barebare dayo.

= Cookie, it is too obvious when you lie because you stick your tongue out.

 ****

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49 Comments

  1. Hello teacher…..how are you??what is the diffrance between tetsudai and tasukeru ….I mean how I will say. I need help or can i help you.or I am helping he /she please make me understand..😊😊😊😊😊

    1. 助ける ( = たすける = tasukeru ) and 手伝う ( = てつだう = tetsudau) are both translated “help” but while “tetsudau” is to give a hand and something minor and 助ける ( = tasukeru ) is for something more serious.

      So if you are walking a street and someone is trying to rob your bag, you scream “助けて = Tasukete!” not “手伝って = tetsudatte!”

    1. Hi,
      Do you have any kanji book? Three or five kanji per day and test yourself on the weekend.
      Try not to remember many kanji at a time. It’s overwhelming.

    2. こんにちわ先生元気ですか。なぜとどうしてとなんでどうやってつかいますか。。

      1. こんにちは!
        なぜ・どうして why (どうして is a little more conversational. Also なんで is very conversational)
        Ex. なぜ/どうして食べないのですか?
        = Naze/ Doushite tabenai no desu ka?
        = Why don’t you eat?

        どうやって how
        Ex.(これは)どうやって食べるのですか?
        = (Kore wa) Douyatte taberu no desu ka?
        = How do I eat (this)?

  2. Hello Maggie sensei
    I like your lesson very much, please keep continuing to teach Japanese。
    こう言うのがすごく助かりますので引き続き宜しくお願いします。
    応援する。
    ありがとうマギー先生。

  3. Thank you sensei….i have an another question..what is difference between Tara….ba…and to ….i want some good example ….if it is possible sensei.my n4 1st semester has completed….😊😊😊😊😊😊and this for you 🍰🍰🍰🍰

    1. Thank u ….i have already studied ba form ….by my own now pasaive form studying…and thanks for your response sensai 😊😊😊😊

    2. Hi sensei ….how are you….can you please answer me where to use ba and Tara…..it is little bit complicated 😣😣😣😣

        1. Hi there! Genki datta?
          整理する= せいりする= seiri suru = to organize something, to put something in order.
          部屋を整理する=へやをせいりする = heya wo seiri suru = organize one’s room
          考えを整理する= かんがえをせいりする= kangae wo seiri suru = organize one’s thoughts.

  4. こんばんわせんせい。。。all the best にほんごでなんといいすか。。。plase correct it if it is wrong..(how to say all best in Japanese )

    1. You can say “All the best to you” in many ways.
      うまくいきますように (literal meaning I hope things go well) / 幸運を祈ります (こううんをいのります) (幸運 = Good luck)/ 成功を祈ります(せいこうをいのります) (成功 = success)

    2. Thank you very much sensei….you are on of the best teachers of nihongo.like you very much🤗🤗🤗🤗

    3. Helo sensei….I go through your all lesson. Very very useful..how can i say that I am not ready for teacing or studying or playing..and for rescue my fat I use to up and down stairs pls.teach me.sensai…☺☺🌷🌷🌷🌷

      1. I am not ready for Ving
        The basic patter is
        まだV(する)・ noun+ の準備ができていません。
        = Mada V(suru) / noun+ の junbi ga dekite imasen.

        But you can just say まだ〜できません。( = mada ~ dekimasen.)
        まだ教えることができません。( = mada oshieru koto ga dekimasen.)

        for rescue my fat I use to up and down stairs
        You mean “to lose fat”?
        脂肪を減らすために階段を(or の)上り下りしています。
        = Shibou wo herasu tame ni kaidan wo / no nobori ori shiteimasu.

  5. 3 dec 2017 jlpt n5… i have cleared now i am preparing for n4 Sensai plz help me out as much as possible…..and yes you have good knowledge in your language grammer……plz keep it up sensai….we need your kind of sensai

      1. You’re welcome!
        “for me”: It depends on the verb or context but “watashi no tameni” may work for many situations.
        Ex. The cake you bought for me. = 私のために買ってくれたケーキ = Watashi no tame ni katte kureta kee-ki

    1. こにちわせんせい。げんきですか。ここそろそろなつになっている。私はしつもんがあります。ことにしますときめますのちがいはなんですか。。おしえていただけませんか。😊😊

      1. こんにちは、Saurabh

        There are cases that they are interchangeable.

        When you made some decision.
        日本にいくことにした。/ 日本にいくことに決めた。
        = I decided to go to Japan.

        決める sounds stronger than ことにする

        As I explained in the lesson ことにする → Lesson link
        You use ことにする
        2) to pretend that something happened/didn’t happen, someone did/didn’t do something

        In this case you can not use 決める
        Ex. 聞かなかったことに決めるよ (wrong)

    2. Wow thank u very very much sensei….you are so good ..I really apriciate your knowledge. You are a nice person as well…Now a days no one gives a single minute to anyone.and you always sort out my problems….I always pray for you ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺

      1. Hi sensei how are you…..opration nihongo de nan desu ka….I mean how to say…I had opration due to problem….oshiete itadakemasen ka.

        1. Hello!
          operation/surgery?
          It’s 手術 =しゅじゅつ

          I had an operation = 手術を受けました =しゅじゅつをうけました。

    1. こんにちわ先生。。。。げんきですか。今にっぽんの天気はどうですか。😊😊。。先生。とくにとどくべつ[な]の違いは何ですか。おしえてください。

      1. こんにちは!
        日本はお花見の季節ずっといいお天気が続いていましたが今日は、雨が降っていますよ。

        とくに (特に)= especially/ particularly (It modifies a verb or an adjective )

        Maggieは特にきれいです。
        = Especially Maggie is beautiful.

        (日本の食べ物はみんな好きですが)特にすしが好きです。
        (Nihon no tabemono wa minna suki desu ga) toku ni sushi ga suki desu.
        (I love all the Japanese food but )I especially like sushi.

        とくべつ(な)(特別な) = special (It modifies a noun)

        今日は特別な日です。
        = Kyou wa tokubetsu na hi desu.
        = It is a special day today.

    1. Helo sensei….can I listen your voice☺☺☺☺and how to say I am uploading a video.in nihon go.pls. teach me.sensai

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