ようとしない (you to shinai) Meaning Japanese Grammar - Not Make An Effort To

Author Anna Baffa Volpe for article 'ようとしない (you to shinai) Meaning Japanese Grammar - Not Make An Effort To'

Anna Baffa Volpe

ようとしない (you to shinai) Meaning Japanese Grammar - Not Make An Effort To

The structure ようとしない (you to shinai) means not willing to, not attempt to, not make effort to or not intend to.

It is a useful expression in combination with the Volitional form we review in this post.

The relatd structure is ようとする which is the affirmative form.

How ようとしない is formed

We use the Volitional form of the verb ending in う/よう + としない.

In the case of Verbs Ichidan:

Verb without る+ようとしない

Unwilling to decide or Refusing to decide, don't / doesn't want to decide

With the Verbs Godan:

Verbal base ending in お or B5+うとしない

don't / doesn't want to write, refusing to write

Irregulars verbs:

  • する becomes しようとしない
  • ()る ⇨ ()ようとしない

How and when ようとしない is used

Let's explain 2 characteristics of the structure through 2 japanese sentences:


It means not having desire to do that at all.


I don't use it for myself.

()(ぶん) jibun is a widely used noun and means oneself, myself

This structure is used with a Volitional verb to say that there is neither will nor efforts to do the action.

As expressed in the Japanese sentence, this form is used for other people's things and situations, not in the first person.



She is angry and doesn't want to listen to anyone.

The following sentence contains the same structure using the verb (おも)think, in the negative form (おも)わない I don't think I will...


I don't want to change my personality.


My child does not want to study, no matter how many times I tell him.

There is another more articulate structure that is used instead of ようとしない, it is expressed by 「まったく〜する(よう)()がない」.

  • まったく is an adverb that combined with the negative form of the verb means not at all.
  • (よう)()yōsu indicates the situation, the state and also the appearancedoesn't seem to want to do, doesn't want to do at all


He doesn't seem to study at all.

Sentences from an article about Hikikomori

From an article about the Hikikomori, a form of social withdrawal or social isolation in one's home. The word 引き籠り Hikikomori means pulling inward, being confined. Hikikomori can refer both to this phenomenon as well as the recluses themselves.

ひきこもりの現実, the reality of Hikikomori


The reality of Hikikomori as seen by a Psychiatrist.

psychologist and Psychiatrist, (しん)()(がく)(しゃ) shinri gakusha(せい)(しん)()() seishinkai

  • (しん)() shinri, litterally means the reasons of the heart or the reasons of the mind and refers to the state of the mind, the psicology and (がく)(しゃ) gakusha, academic, scientist ⇨ Psychologist
  • (せい)(しん) seishin, spirit, mind, () branch of study, () medicine, doctor ⇨ Psychiatrist Here is the sentences containing the grammar structure learnt in this post:
引き籠り, Hikikomori, long-term social withdrawal


In serious cases, they don't leave the room at all, except to use the toilet or the shower.

Examples of ようとしない



Did you explain it to her properly?



Of course, but she doesn't want to listen to me.


Even if we greet our neighbour, he does not return our greetings.


The arrested criminal doesn't want to answer, no matter what questions you ask him.


I give advice, but nobody wants to listen to my advice and put it into practice.