How to use つもり ( = tsumori)


= Ookiku nattara raion ni naru tsumori desu.

= I am going to be a lion when I grow up.

 Hi everyone! Today’s guest teacher is Dai Sensei.

He is just a few months old but all ready to be your teacher today.

Today we are going to study how to use つもり ( = tsumori)

Before I explain the usage, how would you tell someone what you are going to do/ you intend / you have decided?

Well, you could simply use dictionary form or masu form.

* 彼女と秋に結婚する/結婚します。

= Kanojo to aki ni kekon suru/ kekkon shimasu.

= I am going to marry her in the fall.

Or you can use the volitional verb form + 思っている ( = omotte iru) /と思っています ( = omotte imasu)  It sounds a little softer because you add 思っています ( = omotte imasu), thinking


= Kanojo to aki ni kekkon shiyou to omotte iru/omotte imasu.

= I am thinking about marrying her in fall.

If you have been thinking whether or not you are going to marry her and then finally decide you are going to marry her, you would tell people about your decision by saying,


= Kanojo to aki ni kekon suru koto ni shimashita.

= I decided to marry her in the fall.

Now, if you’ve already decided to marry her and you’ve set the wedding day, the place, and invited the people, etc. you would say,


= Kanojo to aki ni kekkon suru yotei desu.

= I am planning to marry her in fall. 

予定 ( = yotei) is used when you have decided more details. (For example, you’ve already fixed the schedule/ time / place/ itinerary / accommodations / transportation, etc. ). 予定 ( = yotei) doesn’t express your intention. It represents your plans.

Finally, if you just want to focus on expressing your strong intentions, you would use つもり ( = tsumori)

Ex. 彼女と秋に結婚するつもりです。

= Kanojo to aki ni kekkon suru tsumori desu.

= I intend to marry her in the fall.


1) Since つもり ( = tsumori) expresses your strong intention, even if the English translation is “I’m going to ~ “, you don’t use it for daily activities that you can do easily without making big decisions.

I’m getting thirsty. I am going to the kitchen and get some water.

🤨?→喉が渇いたから台所に行って水を飲んでくるつもりです。(Not natural)

= Nodo ga kawaita kara daidokoro ni itte mizu wo nonde kuru tsumori desu.

水を飲んできます。( = mizu wo nonde kimasu) is more natural.

2) You don’t use つもり  ( = tsumori) with someone superior.

Talking to your boss.

Are you going to attend the meeting tomorrow?


= Ashita, kaigi ni deru tsumori desu ka? (←This sounds impolite.)


= Ashita, kaigi ni deraremasu ka? (←This sounds natural.)

3)  You can’t use つもり ( = tsumori) if you just decide to do something.


= Depaato de natsu no baagen hajimatta yo.

= The summer sales at the department store just started. 

OK, I’ll go now.

「じゃあ、今からいくつもりです。」(Not natural)

= Jaa, ima kara iku tsumori desu.

It will be more natural to say


= Jaa, ima kara itte kuru.

= OK, I will go now.

or use could use the volitional form:


= Jaa, ima kara ikou kana.

= OK, I guess I will go now. 

4) When you talk about someone else’s intention

It is OK to use it in a question form

Ex. いつ日本に留学するつもりなの?

= Itsu nihon ni ryuugaku suru tsumori nano?

= When are you going to study in Japan?

Ex. 彼はいつ日本に留学するつもりなのだろう。

= Kare wa itsu nihon ni ryuugaku suru tsumori nano darou.

= I wonder when he is going to study in Japan.

But when you state someone’s intention,


= Kare wa rokugatsu ni nihon ni ryuugaku suru tsumori da.

It doesn’t sound natural unless you are talking about someone close to you that you can empathize with.

It would be more natural to use らしい ( = rashii) / ようだ ( = youda) / みたい ( = mitai) which means “It seems like, I heard ~”


= Kare wa rokugatsu ni nihon ni ryuugakusuru tsumori rashii.

= It seems like he is going to study in Japan in June.


Here are some more important points about how to use つもり ( = tsumori).

How to use つもり ( = tsumori)

1. to express one’s intention: going to / decide to / intend to / mean to do something

★How to form:

1) verb dictionary form + つもり ( = tsumori)  +  ( = da) /  です* ( = desu) 

2) verb negative form  Vない ( = nai) + つもり( = tsumori)  + ( = da) /  です ( = desu) 

verb dictionary form + つもり ( = tsumori) + ( = wa) + ない ( = nai)

3)  verb dictionary form + つもり ( = tsumori) + だった ( = datta) / でした ( = deshita) 

4) verb negative form Vない ( = nai) + つもり( = tsumori)  + だった( = datta) / でした ( = deshita) 


1)  verb dictionary form + つもり ( = tsumori)  + ( = da) /  です* ( = desu) 

→talking about what you are going to do /what you intend to do.

Ex. これからもっと日本語の勉強をがんばるつもりです。

= Korekara motto nihongo no benkyou wo ganbaru tsumori desu.

= I am going to study Japanese harder from now on.

Note: It sounds more determined compared to がんばります ( = ganbarimasu).

Ex. 彼に本当のことを言うつもりです。

= Kare ni hontou no koto wo iu tsumori desu.

= I am going to tell him the truth.

Ex. 来年は新しい車を買うつもりだ。

= Rainen wa atarashii kuruma wo kau tsumori da.

= I am going to buy a new car next year.

Ex. もしJLPTの試験に受かったら日本の会社で働くつもりだ。

= Moshi JLPT no shiken ni ukattara nihon no kaisha de hataraku tsumori da.

= If I pass the JLPT test, I am going to work for a Japanese company.

Ex. 「バイトをやめてこれからどうするつもりなの?」

= Baito wo yamete korekara dousuru tsumori nano?

= What are you going to do now after quitting your part time job?


= Motto jibun ni atta shigoto wo sagasu tsumori desu.

= I am going to look for more suitable work for me.

Ex. 何があっても家族を守るつもりです。

= Nani ga attemo kazoku wo mamoru tsumori desu.

= No matter what happens, I am going to protect my family. 

Ex. こんな遅くにどこへ行くつもり

= Konna  osoku ni doko e iku tsumori?

= Where are you going this late at night?


a) verb negative form Vない ( = nai) + つもり ( = tsumori) + ( = da) /  です ( = desu) 

b) verb dictionary form + つもり ( = tsumori) + ( = wa)/ では ( = dewa) / (casual) じゃ ( = ja)  + ない ( = nai) / ありません (= arimasen ) (It sounds stronger) 

→Talking about what you are NOT going to do/ what you don’t intend to do.

Note: b) expresses stronger will.

Ex. やせるまで甘いものは何も食べないつもりだ。

= Yaseru made amai mono wa nani mo tabenai tsumori da.

= I am not going to eat any sweets until I lose weight. 

And if you want to show your decision even more clearly,


= Yaseru made amai mono wa nani mo taberu tsumori wa nai.

= I have no intention of eating sweets until I lose weight. 

Ex. 彼には私が結婚することを言わないつもりです。

= Kare niwa watashi ga kekkon suru koto wo iwanai tsumori desu.

= I am not going to tell him that I am going to get married. 


= Kare ni watashi ga kekkon suru koto wo iu tsumori wa arimasen.

= I have no intention of telling him that I am going to get married. 

Ex. このことは誰にも言わないつもりだ。

= Kono koto wa dare nimo iwanai tsumori da.

= I am not going to tell anybody about this.

Ex. 旅行に行ったら危ないところには近づかないつもりです。

= Ryokou ni ittara abunai tokoro niwa chikazukanai tsumori desu.

= I am not going to go near dangerous areas when I go traveling. 

(= I am going to stay away from the dangerous areas when I go traveling.)

Ex. 今日は1日雨だからどこにも行かないつもりだ。

= Kyou wa ichinichi ame dakara doko nimo ikanai tsumori da.

= It’s raining all day today so I am not going anywhere.

Ex.  このプロジェクトを諦めるつもりはありません。

= Kono projekuto wo akirameru tsumori wa arimasen.

= I am not going to give up on this project. 

Ex. 日本語の勉強をやめるつもりはないです。

= Nihongo no benkyou wo yameru tsumori wa nai desu.

= I am not going to quit studying Japanese.

3) verb dictionary form + つもり ( = tsumori) + だった ( = datta) / でした ( = deshita) 

→Talking about what you were going to do/what you intended to but you didn’t do that after all. 

Ex. 京都までは車でいくつもりだったがやっぱり電車で行くことにした。
= Kyouto made wa kuruma de iku tsumori datta ga yappari densha de iku koto ni shita.

= I was going to go to Kyoto by car but I changed my mind and decided to go there by train instead.

Ex. 週末、旅行に行くつもりだったが台風でキャンセルになった。
= Shuumatsu, ryokou ni iku tsumori dattaga taifuu de kyanseru ni natta.

= I was going to go traveling over the weekend but cancelled because of the typhoon. 

Ex. 日本人と話すときは日本語だけで話すつもりだったが、思ったより難しそうだ。

= Nihonjin to hanasu toki wa nihongo dake de hanasu tsumori datta ga, omotta yori muzukashisouda.

= I was going to speak only in Japanese when I talk to Japanese people but it seems harder than I thought it would be. 

Ex. もっと安い服を買うつもりだったのにこの高い服を買っちゃった。

= Motto yasui fuku wo kau tsumori datta noni kono takai fuku wo kacchatta.

= I was going to buy cheaper clothes but I ended up buying this expensive clothes.


* verb + つもり ( = tsumori) + ( = wa) /では ( = dewa) / (casual) じゃ ( = ja) + なかった ( = nakatta) / ありませんでした ( = arimasen deshita)

* verb negative form Vない ( = nai) + つもり( = tsumori)  + だった( = datta) / でした ( = deshita) 

→Talking about what you decided NOT to do/ what you intended NOT to do but you did do after all. 

Ex. 彼は飲み会に誘わないつもりだったのに、誰かが誘ったみたいだ。

= Kare wa nomikai ni sasowanai tsumori datta noni, dareka ga sasotta mitai da.

= I was not going to invite him to the drinking party but it seems like someone invited him.

Ex. 愚痴は言わないつもりだったが今の職場はひどすぎる。

= Guchi wa iwanai tsumori datta ga ima no shokuba wa hidosugiru.

= I was not going to whine, but the current work place is terrible. 

Ex. 詳細が決まるまで誰にも言わないつもりでしたが、実は来年日本に行きます。
= Shousai ga kimaru made dare ni mo iwanai tsumori deshitaga, jitsu wa rainen nihon ni ikimasu.

= I was not going to say anything until the details were decided but actually I’m going to Japan next year. 

Ex. みんなをだますつもりじゃなかったんだ。ごめんね。

= Minna wo damasu tsumori ja nakattan da. Gomenne.

= I didn’t mean to deceive everyone. Sorry.


2. When the outcome/reality is different from one’s original intention.

* to think / believe  ~  but the reality is different

* to be convinced that one is ~ but the reality is different

* meant to do / be ~  but it turned out to be different. 

★How to form:

1)  verb te-form:  V ( = te) + いる ( = iru)  + つもり ( = tsumori)  

2)  verb ta-form:  V ( = ta) / Vんだ ( = V nda) / Vった ( = tta) / Vていた( = te ita) + つもり( = tsumori)

3)  noun + ( = no) + つもり ( = tsumori) 

4)  i-adjective ( = i)  + つもり ( = tsumori) / na-adjecitve ( = na)  + つもり ( = tsumori) 

present tense  V ( = da) /です ( = desu) 

past tense Vだった ( = datta) / でした ( = deshita) 

*~つもり ( = tsumori) + ( = de) + verb: modifying a verb

*You can also connect with ( = ga) / なのに ( = nanoni) / なんだけど ( = nandakedo), etc. when you talk about the contradicted result. 

1) verb te-form  V ( = te) + いる ( = iru)  + つもり ( = tsumori)  to believe  ~ but the reality is different 

Ex. 自分ではちゃんと発音しているつもりなんだけど私の日本語が通じないことがある。

= Jibun dewa chanto hatsuon shite iru tsumori nan dakedo watashi no nihongo ga tsuujinai koto ga aru.

= I think I am pronouncing properly but sometimes people don’t understand my Japanese.

Ex. 私は私なりにがんばっているつもりだけど..。

= Watashi wa watashi nari ni ganbatte iru tsumori dakedo.

= I think I am doing my best in my way but…



= Jissai, butai ni tatte iru tsumori de utatte kudasai.

= Please sing as if you were standing on the stage.


= Wakarimashita. Kankyaku ga iru tsumori de utaimasu.

= OK, I will sing as if there was audience.

2)  verb ta-form  V ( = ta) / Vんだ ( = V nda) / Vった ( = tta) / Vていた ( = te ita) + つもり( = tsumori) :

(1) You thought you did but actually you didn’t.

to think one did something / thought one had done something  (but it was different in reality) / one meant to do/be ~ (but it turned out to be different.) 


A: 「エアコンがつけっぱなしだよ。」

= Eakon ga tsukeppanashi dayo.

= You left the air-conditioner on.

B: 「ごめん、ごめん。消したつもりだったけど..」

= Gomen, gomen. Keshita tsumori datta kedo..

= I thought I turned it off but…

Ex. 「つもり」の使い方はわかっていたつもりだが、意外に難しかった。

= “Tsumori” no tsukaikata wa wakatte ita tsumori daga, igai ni muzukashikatta.

= I thought I knew how to use “tsumori” but it was unexpectedly difficult.

Ex. きっかり一万円払ったつもりだったが、100円足りなかった。

= Kikkari ichimanen haratta tsumori dattaga, hyakuen tarinakatta.

= I thought I paid exactly 10,000 yen, but actually it was 100 yen short.

Ex. 鈴木さんにもお土産をあげたつもりだったがあげていなかったみたいだ。

= Suzuki san nimo omiyage wo ageta tsumori dattaga agete inakatta mitaida.

= I thought I gave Suzuki-san a gift (souvenir), but I guess I didn’t.

Ex. 今回の試験は、自分ではよくできたつもりが、落ちてしまった。

= Konkai no shiken wa, jibun dewa yoku dekita tsumori ga, ochite shimatta.

= I thought I did well on the exam this time, but actually I failed.

Ex. それで掃除したつもりなの?

= Sore de souji shita tsumori nano?

= Is that what you call cleaning?! (I don’t think so!)

Ex. 住所をきちんと書いたつもりだったけれどもアパート名が抜けていた。
= Juusho wo kichinto kaita tsumori datta keredomo apaato mei ga nukete ita.

= I thought I wrote the address properly but the name of the apartment building was missing.

Ex. 傘を持ってきたつもりだったが家に忘れてきたようだ。

= Kasa wo motte kita tsumori datta ga ie ni wasurete kita you da.

= I thought I brought an umbrella with me, but it seems like I left it home.

Ex. もう試合に勝ったつもりでいたら最後のゲームで負けてしまった。

= Mou shiai ni katta tsumori de itara saigo no geemu de makete shimatta.

= I thought we already won the tournament, but we ended up losing in the last game.

Ex. メールを出したつもりが、送信されていなかった。

= Meeru wo dashita tsumori ga, soushin sarete inakatta.

= I thought I sent the email, but it wasn’t sent.

Ex. がんばっているつもりなのに誰も評価してくれない。

= Ganbatteiru tsumori nanoni daremo hyouka shite kurenai.

= I thinkI am doing my best but nobody recognizes that.

 (2)  to do /did something as if  ~ / pretending ~

Ex. 大船に乗ったつもりでまかせてください。

= Oobune ni notta tsumori de makasete kudasai.

= (The literal meaning) Please leave it to me as if you were on a big ship.

= You can fully depend on me. (Idiomatic expression)

Ex. モデルになったつもりでこちらに歩いてきてください。

= Moderu ni natta tsumori de kochira ni aruite kite kudasai.

= Please walk towards this way as if being a model.

Ex. 誰かがそこにいるつもりで話す練習をすると会話力が上達しますよ。

= Dareka ga soko ni iru tsumori de hanasu renshuu wo suruto kaiwaryoku ga joutatsu shimasuyo.

= If you practice by speaking as if you were talking to someone, your conversation skills will improve.

3)  noun + ( = no) +つもり( = tsumori) : as ~ / to believe X is Y/ to pretend to be ~ . 

Ex. 発表会本番のつもりでピアノの練習しなさい。

= Happyoukai honban no tsumori de piano no renshuu shinasai.

= Practice piano as if you were actually performing.

Ex. 冗談のつもりで言ったのに本気だと思われた。

= Joudan no tsumori de itta noni honki dato omowareta.

= I meant it as a joke but they took it seriously.

We also use this expression in a sarcastic way sometimes.

Ex. 何様のつもり

= Nanisama no tsumori?

Who do you think you are?

Ex. 彼、あれで先生のつもりなの?

= Kare, are de sensei no tsumori nano?

= Does he think of himself as a teacher like that?

(* “like that” implies his usual behavior/attitude/qualifications are not proper for a teacher.)

4)  i-adjective ~ ( = i)  + つもり ( = tsumori) 

* na-adjecitve ~ ( = na)  + つもり ( = tsumori) 

Ex. まだ若いつもりでいたが最近、疲れやすくなった。

= Mada wakai tsumori de ita ga, saikin tsukareyasuku natta.

= I thought I was still young, but I seem to tire easily recently.

Ex. うちの子は自分ではもう大きいつもりらしい。

= Uchi no ko wa jibun dewa mou ookii tsumori rashii.

= My child believes he / she is already big.


5.) Others:

(1) When you ask someone’s intention, accuse what other people did, you use

どういう ( = douiu) /なんの ( = nanno) 

accusing someone.

Ex. 「どういうつもりであんなこと彼女に言ったの?」

= Douiu tsumori de anna koto kanojo ni itta no?

= What were you thinking telling her such a thing.

Ex. こんな夜中に電話してくるなんてどういうつもり

= Konna yonaka ni denwa shite kuru nante douiu tsumori?

= What are you thinking calling in the middle of night?

(2) You can refer to what mentioned in the previous sentence with その ( = sono) + つもり ( = tsumori)

Ex. 「えっ?この寒いのに泳ぐの?」
= Eh? Kono samui noni oyogu no?

= What? Are you going to swim in this cold weather?


= Mochiron, sono tsumori dayo.

= Of course, that’s my plan.

(*その ( = sono)  = 泳ぐつもり = oyogu tsumori)

Ex. 「そのコスプレ、ナルトのつもり?」
= Sono kosupure, Naruto no tsumori?

= Is that cosplay supposed to be Naruto?


= Un, sono tsumori dakedo monku aru?

= Yes, it is. Do you have any problem?

(*その ( = sono) = ナルト( = Naruto) )

(3) When you negate the intention, you use そういう ( = souiu) /そんな ( = sonna) +つもり( = tsumori)



= Ashita, isogashii?

= Are you busy tomorrow?

B: 「えっ?デートに誘ってるの?」

= Eh? Deeto ni sasotteru no?

= What? Are you asking me out?

A: 「そういう*つもりで聞いたんじゃないよ。」

= Souiu tsumori de kiitan ja nai yo.

= That’s not why I was asking.

→ * そういう( = souiu) = デートに誘うつもり ( = deeto ni sasou tsumori) intention of asking B out. 

Ex. なんか、彼女を傷つけてしまったなあ。そんな*つもりじゃなかったのに。

= Nanka, kanojo wo kizutsukete shimatta naa. Sonna tsumori janakatta noni.

= I somehow hurt her feelings. I didn’t mean to, but…

→ *そんな( = sonna) = 彼女を傷つけるつもり ( = kanojo wo kizutsukeru tumori) intention of hurting her


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

大先生、ありがとう!= Dai Sensei arigatou! = Thank you, Dai Sensei!


= ii raion ni nareru to iine. = I hope you can be a good lion.


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  1. Thank you for the great article! Sensei, in the sentence いつ日本に留学するつもりなの?, is なの female language? かな can be used instead, can’t it?

    1. Hi Kate,

      Both men and women say いつ日本に留学するつもりなの? (question form)
      But it sounds feminine when you say 来年、日本に留学するつもりなの。(affirmative form)

      And かな has a different meaning. I wonder when (someone) will go to Japan to study. (someoneは)いつ日本に留学するのかな。

  2. マギー先生、こんにちは!



    1. カミ

      予定: You are just talking about your plans for the next year. planning to go back to country next year.
      ことになりました You are talking about the result of some process. In this case, it implies there are some kind of stories behind and as a result, you decide to go back home.

  3. Sensei. How does は work in the following sentences?

    And why does the particle は in the sentence below mean “in”?
    プラハはおいしいベジタリアン料理も簡単に見つかって、いつもお腹いっぱいだった = it’s easy finding good vegetarian food in Prague, and I was always full.

    1. は has a function to bring up some topics.
      ~ に気をつけてください。 (Take care of ~ “specifically” )
      ~ にはお気をつけてください。(As for ~ , please take care.)

      As for Prague, you can find good ~ there.

      1. Thanks. How about these ones? Could you explain?

        から is from, so it would be “as for from…”, this is rather strange.

        納豆は何回も食べたよ/ 食べましたよ


        In these sentences, does the は bring up topic or show contrast?

        1. 刑務所からは出ました.
          It shows the contrast/emphasize. Maybe this person got out of the jail but there could be some other problem.
          Last two are topics.

    1. Here’s the basic rule.
      A = B A is B
      AはBです。 (Emphasizing B / or Showing the contrast.)
      AがBです。 (Emphasizing A)

      A does B
      AはBします。(Emphasizing B / or Showing the contrast.)
      AがBします。(Emphasizing A)

      YouTubeチャネル登録者は20万人を超えました (Emphasizing20万人を超えました or it implies the writer has other activities but as of youtube channel, he/she got ~ subscribers.)
      YouTubeチャネル登録者が20万人を超えました (Emphasizing YouTubeチャネル登録者)

  4. Hi, I didnt understand the difference between these two topics:

    2) verb ta-form Vた ( = ta) / Vんだ ( = V nda) / Vった ( = tta) / Vていた ( = te ita) + つもり( = tsumori) :

    You thought you did but actually you didn’t.

    believed/thought ~ but the reality was /might have been different


    3) verb ta-form Vた ( = ta) / Vんだ ( = V nda) / Vった ( = tta) + つもり( = tsumori):

    (1) to think one did something / thought one had done something (but it was different in reality) / one meant to do/be ~ (but it turned out to be different.)

    Because for me they mean the same thing…
    Can I just join these two as only one topic?

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