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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91 Comments

  1. Hi ….sensei…..how are you.?? I need a help …if you can help..plz tell me n3 grammar pattern and kanji.plz

    1. Hello!
      Haha I can’t just teach you all the JLPT N3 grammar and kanji in the comment section.
      You should get textbooks and ask me question if you have some doubt in Maggie’s Room.
      My site is not to study JLPT test but I just classified some of my grammar lesson by its JLPT level. If you click the tag, JLPT N3, you can see those lessons. There are many good site out there just to teach JLPT Japanese. Google with “JLPT N3 kanji list”.

  2. Hello, Maggie Sensei

    I’ve been going through your lessons for quite a while now and its been very helpful! Easy to understand and very detailed!

    However, as I am going through this lesson I wonder where つい is usually placed in sentences. (for ex: before noun, before verb, etc..)

    Thank you very much in advance!

    1. Good question!

      つい is an adverb and it modifies a verb and it is pretty flexible.

      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。
      You can say
      彼女の前で他の女の子がかわいいってつい言っちゃった。(right before the main verb)
      つい彼女の前で他の女の子がかわいいって言っちゃった。 (When you emphasize the fact that you had no intension to do that, you place it at the beginning of the sentence)

      1. Dear, Maggie Sensei

        Thank you for your reply.
        So basically つい can go anywhere and not change the meaning of the sentence?

        Like these 3 sentences = different position of つい does not affect the meaning?

        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。
        彼女の前で他の女の子がかわいいってつい言っちゃった。
        つい彼女の前で他の女の子がかわいいって言っちゃった。

        THANK YOU~

        1. Right the meaning is the same.
          As I wrote in the note, if you start the sentence with つい, the listener can tell the speaker did something without intention right away.

    2. Helo sensei….how are you..?? I have joined the classes for n3 level….I have a Mondai..ano sono and kono. How we will use when we talk….can u plz explain it briefly 🍦🍦

  3. Hello teacher..how are you…..1 of July jlpt 4 exam is going to held in delhi…..I am preparing very hard…so if you have any important kanji or grammar or suggestions…plz let me know….I learnt lots of things from….for that thank u very much…..

  4. Good morning teacher…..How are you..
    Myfrnd asked me いかがお過ごしですか?what does it mean ….and what should I reply….if some say it pls teach

    1. Hello Saurabh
      いかがお過ごしですか? is a very polite way to say “How have you been?”
      So if you are doing OK, 元気です
      (more formal) おかげさまで元気にしています。

      1. 簡単(kantan) and 易しい ( yasashii) ?

        First “yasashii” has two kanji 易しい and 優しい. The later means “sweet/kind/nice (personality, tone, etc)”
        Now 簡単 and 易しい both mean “easy” and sometime they are interchangeable.

        テストは簡単だった / 易しかった。
        = The test was easy.

        The difference 簡単 means “simple”
        For example when you are tired and no energy to cook, you say
        Ex. なにか簡単なものを作ります。
        = I will make something simple.

        If you say 易しいものを作ります it means I will make something easy to make. and you are talking about the procedure of cooking is easy.

    2. こんにちわせんせい。まえのへじにありがとうございます。僕の今日の質問はくらいだとぐらいだ。くらいならとぐらいならどうやってつかいますか
      この文のいみはなんですか(きがあわないひとちいっしょにせいかつするぐらいならこのままどくしんでいたい)

      1. こんにちは!
        くらいとぐらいのレッスンあるから見てくださいね。→ Click here

        きがあわないひとちいっしょにせいかつするぐらいならこのままどくしんでいたい
        そのレッスンの最後のwould ratherの意味です。

        I would rather stay single than live with someone I can’t get along.

  5. 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!”

    2. Thank you sensei you answer is very understandable….you should be a proffecer of japnese language…..

    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)?

  6. 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。

    1. Thank you sensei….how are you ….I am very confused in causative form…like. how I use it ..when to force some or to make some on…please make it clear sensei…..arigatou

      1. Hi Saurabh

        How have you been?
        Did I give you a link to my introductory lesson on a causative form? →させる

        I have been thinking of making a new lesson because it is complicated.

        Basically If you make someone do something for you, you use a causative form.
        Basic pattern:
        Subjectは、someoneに somethingを+ causative form

        Let’s say you make your friend cook breakfast for you,

        (私は)友達に朝ごはんを作らせる。/作らせます。
        (わたしは)ともだちにあさごはんをつくらせる/つくらせます。
        = ( Watashi wa) Tomodachi ni asagohan wo tsukuraseru./ tsukurasemasu.

  7. 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.

    3. Arigatou gozaimasu sensei.no you didn’t send any link ….pls send sensei the easy one July 1st my jlpt 4 exam is in 1st July….I really want to cover all the sillaybus….but this topic is little complicated…..and I have almost learned all the jlpt 4 kanji….plz suggest me anything better for me…..I whoul be heighly obliged you… highly obliged you….👦👦👦👦

      1. I already gave you the link in my previous message. Click the word させる

        You can go through the Index page and choose the topics you like. And I will keep making more and more lessons for everybody! :)

    4. Good evening sensei…..how are you…..I checked your lesson about causative verb….and yes I understood it…..thanks a lot …..sensai what is the diffrance between kaemasu and torikaemasu….pls make it clear sensai

      1. Hi, I’m good. How are you?

        It depends on kanji. Kaeru has many different kanji.
        変える, 替える、換える, etc. (Check my facebook lesson to see all the difference.)

        But for example,
        Ex.AとBを替えてください。 / 取り替えてください。
        = A to B wo kaete kudasai/ torikaete kudasai.
        = Please exchange A with B.
        the meaning is the same.
        But while 替える is used when it simply means “change to something”, 取り替える means “switch A and B”

  8. 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.

  9. 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 ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺

    3. Thank u sensei……do u have any lesson on honorific expression….it comes in jlpt 4…..it is very important…..and I am very thankful to you that you are helping me a lot…..my ぎりのちちwa Japanese guide desu….wherever you want to visit India plz let me know….and yes I heard from him that japnese people are very helpful….and after your support I saw it it’s really true….🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹

      1. Hello
        I have a basic keigo lesson →Click here
        Wow your father in law is a tour guide? Then you can learn a lot from him,too. :)

        I’m sure Indian people are really nice!!

      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. Thank u sensei..he is working from 25 years as a japnese tour guide he knows all prefecture nihongo….even all the history of India and Japan as well….and he studied by himself without any help just books nd all….

    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.

    2. Hello sensei…..how are you….what the different between hatarakimasu and tsutomemasu….oshiete kudasai

      1. Hi,

        * 働く = はたらく = hataraku = means “to work” in general.
        * 勤める = つとめる = tsutomeru = means you are hired by a company/bank/store/restauran,etc. and you work for them.

        So you can say
        今日はよく働きました。
        = Kyou wa yoku hatarakimashita.
        = I worked a lot today.

        but you can’t say
        今日はよく勤めました。
        = Kyou wa yoku tsutomemashita.

        Also when you want to say “I work for ABC company” you say

        ABC会社で働いています。
        = ABC gaisha de hataraite imasu.

        ABC会社に勤めています。
        = ABC gaisha ni tsutomete imasu.

        As you can see the particles are different. (で/に)

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

    2. Thank u so much sensei……this is very helpful….🍫🍫🍫🍫……I studied today….Nikki. gatai and zurai…nikui i know how to use but gatai and zurai don’t know how to use….Please make it clear sensei

      1. にくい/づらい (nikui/zurai)
        The translation could be the same 見にくい/見づらい hard to see
        something is physically hard to use/realize にくい ( = nikui)
        Something is psychologically hard to do/use づらい ( = zurai)

        The usage of がたい is more limited.
        You use with non-action verbs.
        忘れる ( =wasureru) to forget →忘れがたい ( = wasuregatai) hard to forget
        信じる ( = shinjiru) to believe →信じがたい ( = shinjigatai) hard to believe

    3. Thank you sensei..for your answer…..you always made things very clear thank u…..sensei what is the diffrance between ukagaimasu and mairimasu??

      1. Hello!
        You can use both when you go visit who you respect/someone superior.
        6時に伺います。/ 参ります。
        I will visit you six.

        When you simply go somewhere, you can use “mairu” you can’t use 伺う (=ukagau) unless you visit someone superior.

        これから東京に参ります。(OK)
        = Kore kara Tokyou ni nmairimasu.
        = I will go to Tokyo now.
        これから東京に伺います。(Strange)
        = Kore kara Tokyo ni ukagaimasu.

        1. Hi sensei….o genki de irrashaimasuka?? Th and for you previous reply….my todays shitsumon is how to say….”I went to doctor and showed my eyes…means how i say to someone that I have shown my eyes to doctor….pls make it clear…

          1. Ohayou!!
            Hai, genki desu. Saurabh mo genki desu ka?

            The direct translation is
            医者に行って目を見せた。
            = Isha ni itte me wo miseta.
            But it will be more natural to say
            I went to the doctor and had them/him/her examine my eyes.
            医者に行って目を診てもらった。
            = Isha ni itte me wo mite moratta.

            The kanji for “miru” 見る = to see/look/watch 診る (medically)

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