Lesson 12 – Talking About Future Intent つもり


Konnichiwa! The last lesson taught you to express what you did last week, so now you know how to explain to your friends that you’re not a “total” loser. You can tell them that you went to that awesome rock concert or that packed street festival. This lesson will focus on future intent and will introduce you to the grammar particle つもり and おう/よう。

Before we continue it is important to note that both grammar particles technically mean the same thing, however, the one difference is the formality.

つもり is more formal than おう・よう

The importance of this grammar point lies in its abilities to express specifics rather than just the future tense.  Sure, you can always use ~ます or the dictionary form of the verb to express future tense, but it will lack intent, and intent is what you want in a language where saying less means saying more.

Let’s look at this grammar particle in action through a conversation between Mary and Takeshi








Mary: Takeshi, where are you planning on going today?

Takeshi: Well… there is a festival in Ikebukuro. Perhaps, I’ll go.

Mary: Do you plan on going alone? That sounds so lonely…

Takeshi: No…Nothing like that! Mary, did you plan on going with me?

Mary: Obviously! We are friends, aren’t we?


Okay so clearly Mary has some attachment issues, but let’s break this conversation down grammatically.

The つもり grammar particle is attached to the end of a verb in its dictionary form, and it can be used in past tense form as well. In the dialogue, we see 行くつもり and 行くつもりでした


Remember dictionary from + つもりです・だ ( is short form)

For the short form of つもり, it’s a bit trickier but there is a sure way to master it. おう is for u verbs and よう is for ru verbs, simply drop the u or the ru and add おうor よう


Here is a table of example verbs and the つもり/ おう。よう grammar particle


Verb Verb Type Tsumori Ou-you
食(た)べる RU- VERB 食べるつもり 食べよう
買(か)う U- VERB 買うつもり 買おう
飲(の)む U- VERB 飲むつもり 飲もう
する IRR- VERB するつもり しよう
来(く)る IRR – VERB 来るつもり こよう


All, except for the last two being する and くる follow the pattern mentioned above. する and 来る are irregular verbs. Meaning they act differently from other verbs, so try and add a bit more extra effort to memorize those readings!



Takeshi and Mary are at a restaurant having dinner, can you translate their conversation into Japanese using the new grammar you just learned? Feel free to use long or short form ?. Good luck!

Takeshi: Mary, what do you plan on eating?

Mary: Maybe, I’ll get the potatoes and chicken

Takeshi: Oh, I see, that sounds delicious

Mary: What about you Takeshi?

Takeshi: Ummm… last week I started a new diet so I only plan on drinking red wine.

(See the answer key below if you need help)



Mary and Takeshi Lesson About Tsumori







Answer Key






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