The noun つもり (
plan. つもり is often used to express what we intend to do.
However, there are some different meanings of つもり depending on the context in which it is used and the verbal forms or particles that come before or after this noun.
In this post we are going to learn all the possible meanings of つもり through example sentences in real contexts.
つもり comes from the verb 積もる, which means
I'm going to do - つもりだ
The most common use of つもり is the form つもりだ (
tsumorida) or つもりです (
tsumoridesu) in the polite form.
The addition of the noun つもり serves to indicate the intention to perform the action indicated by the verb that precedes つもり. In this sense, つもりだ literally translates
... intention is, where つもり stands for
intention and だ
to be /
Let's see a simple example to understand how to use つもりだ. If we don't use つもり in a sentence the meaning is simply
I will do, without indicating whether it is just an idea, a wish or a goal:
I will go to Japan this summer vacation.
In this sentence we are saying that we will go to Japan, that is, that the trip has already been planned and I just have to leave.
If we add つもり to the sentence, the meaning changes. In fact, つもり indicates that it is our intention to go to Japan:
I intend to go to Japan this summer vacation.
In this case it is not planned already. Nonetheless, that's my intention, and so I'm trying to make that happen.
つもり to indicate future action
In many cases, つもり can simply be translated as a future action. つもり always implies the idea of _intention_, but this is sometimes not translated literally in the meaning of the sentence:
I'll go to school tomorrow.
In this example the translation can simply be
I will go. However, in these cases we must keep in mind that つもり adds a sense of uncertainty: my intention is to go, but it's not 100% sure, you never know 🤷🏼♂️.
My intention is not to do - ないつもり
If we change the preceding verb つもり into its negative form ない, then the meaning becomes
my intention is not to do ....
Let's see also in this case a simple example:
Today I intend not to go to school.
The addition of the negative form ない indicates my intention (つもり) is to not do (ない).
I have no intention of doing - つもりはない
If instead we add the particle は (or が) and ない after つもり, then the meaning becomes
I have no intention of doing ....
The literal translation becomes that the intention (つもりは) does not exist (な い,
not to exist). Let's also see an example here:
I'm not going to get up early.
Using つもり to indicate what I believe
Another meaning of つもり is
belief. For this reason, in certain contexts the same use of つもりだ can derive from this meaning.
For example, if you happen to come across a sentence like the following:
I think I know how you feel.
The use of つもりだ certainly does not indicate an intention. In this case, however, the meaning is
I believe. Literally, the nuance of meaning becomes
I think I know well (no matter what you think).
Inside of me I think I know.
With the intention of doing - つもりで
つもり can also be found below from the particle で.
In this expression the meaning becomes
with the intention of doing ....
Let's see an example to clarify the meaning of つもりで:
If you study with the intention of taking the exam, you will be able to concentrate .
The literal translation is the combination of つもり (intention) and で (do through):
with the intention of.
Supposition with つもり
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Past tense verb with つもりで
If the verb preceding つもりで is conjugated in the past tense with the form in ta (た), then the meaning becomes
as if I intended to:
I am studying Japanese as if I intend to go to Japan.
With the use of た + つもりで the intention does not necessarily exist, but the action is performed as if this intention were really there.
This form can also be translated as
even if you have not done something in reality, believe you have done it and act accordingly. Let's see an example:
He speaks English as if he had become an American (but in reality he is not).
Don't use つもり for questions
If you want to ask someone if they are planning to go to Japan for the summer vacation, you must not use the form つもりだ!
つもり in questions implies criticism of others' intentions, which can be rude or unpolite
In fact, in the questions, the use of つもり can be literally translated as
what do you think you're doing, huh? Or
I know you want to do something, how dare you (intend to) do this?.
For this reason, do not use つもり to ask questions about the intentions of others. In these cases we simply use the present base form:
Are you going to Japan for this summer vacation?