Plans and intentions with tsumori

stay in the loop about plans and intentions with tsumori in the Japanese language!

Speaking in Japanese about our plans and intentions is something simpler than it seems.

Plans and intentions with tsumori

For this we will need the word つもり, which does not have a specific meaning, but in today's phrases, it will have a meaning close to that of “planning something” or “thinking about accomplishing something”.

Conjugating Japanese verbs with つもり

Something interesting is that つもり it is invariant, having no inflection or change of form in the various tenses. In fact, to indicate the time of the action, it is necessary to conjugate the verb that appears before the つもり or the です at the end of the sentence.

Affirmative present

To use つもり it's something very simple. Just create a common phrase and add つもり right after Japanese verbs in dictionary form, or informal mood of Japanese verbs. In addition, sentences with this construction allow the use of ですright after the つもり.

Just remembering that the です can take the form  in colloquial use and です in the formal way. To remember, I suggest reading the articles: The verb to be in Japanese with desu and its tenses.



I think (am thinking or intending) to buy a new car.


Next year, I think (I am thinking or intending) to go to Japan.

See too:
The "but" in Japanese
Japanese fast course

negative present

First, let's look at the three examples below:


Next year, I don't plan on going to Japan. (I don't intend to go to Japan.)


Next year, I don't plan on going to Japan. (I have no intention of going to Japan.)


Next year, I plan on not going to Japan. (I have no intention of going to Japan.)

Note that the conjugation of Japanese verbs is always performed in the dictionary form, with the exception of です, which can appear in colloquial or formal mode.

If you're a good observer, you've also noticed something very strange with です. when we use つもり, the negative form of です change to はありません (in formal mode) and はない (in informal mode).

Affirmative past

Again, we can combine the です or the verb that appears before つもり. Note the examples below:


Last year, I thought about going to Japan. (I intended to go to Japan)


Last year, I planned to go to Japan. (I intended to go to Japan)


Last year, I thought about going to Japan. or I planned to go to Japan. (I intended to go to Japan)

negative past

As the past negative is a statement contrary to the past affirmative. The idea conveyed by つもり completely changes.



Last year, I didn't think about going to Japan. (I didn't intend to go to Japan.)


Last year, I didn't plan to go to Japan. (I didn't intend to go to Japan.)


Last year, I thought about not going to Japan. (I intended not to go to Japan.)

Take care with つもり

By having a sense of intention, planning, believing or being convinced of something, the indiscriminate use of つもり can cause communication problems. Furthermore, つもり can also appear in kanji form 積もり.

The fact of つもり pass a negative idea, depending on the context of course. In such cases, the speaker may be speaking of an intention, or conviction, which is not necessarily true.



My mother believes (thinks or is convinced) that she is healthy.

Another important point to note is that つもり it is not appropriate to talk about what another person thinks or wants to do. For this, there are other ways that will be addressed in later articles.

Below is a video explaining more about Tsumori's plans and intentions:

Kanji calligraphy exercise

Below are the Japanese ideographic symbols used in this article. Selecting the desired kanji, copy and paste them into Worksheet for Kana and Kanji Practice , a new window will open where you can view the printable file and practice Japanese calligraphy by covering the gray symbols and then trying to write yourself. Just print and practice.