February 14, 2008


In Japanese it is easy to construct sentences that tell others your intentions. To say that you intend on doing something in Japanese, put a verb in either baseIII or baseI (i.e. iku or ikanai) and add tsumori desu. As long as the locutor has a handle on the pronunciation of the tsu syllable (see pronunciation tips #13), then his/her spoken intentions will also be easily understood. Tsumori is the word we use when we want to show an intention. Putting tsumoru into baseII[1] gives you tsumori. We can understand more about this word by taking a closer look at its meaning. Tsumoru is the verb to accumulate or to be piled or stacked up. Also note that tsumeru means to stuff, pack, or cram, although the kanji is not exactly the same it seems to have stemmed from a common source. Tsumori is also related to the widely used common term tsumaranai which is the word for something that is worthless or trivial, or something that is not worth your time worrying about.

Ghetto Grammar Lesson #115 – Intend to verb


-intend to + verb
verb (Base III) + tsumori

-no intention to + verb
verb (Base I) + tsumori

You must add the polite form of the verb to be (de aru) after tsumori to show politeness as well as to show whether the intention was a past or present, negative or positive intention. A few examples will show you how to use this bunpo principle.

Practice Tip – Take all the Japanese verbs you know and put them into the tsumori bunpo. Have fun with words like fart, choke, drown, dumpster dive etc. Remember Ghetto Grammar is not only useful, its fun. Just be careful not to get too ghetto and always use the polite form for verbs. Steer clear of anything plain form or lower.

ex.1 - I intend to win.

- Watakushi wa katsu tsumori desu.

ex.2 - He intends to speak with her.

- Kare wa kanojo to hanasu tsumori desu.

ex.3 - I don't intend to go.

- Ikanai tsumori desu. (Rarely used)

ex.3a - I have no intentions to go.

- Iku tsumori wa nai desu. (More frequently)

- Iku tsumori wa arimasen. (More polite)

ex.4 - It was my intention to do the dishes.

- Sara o arau tsumori deshita.

ex.4a - I had intended to go

- Iku tsumori deshita.

Most often literal translations of Japanese to English rarely come out in a comprehensible fashion. Usually they are so far from what we really are saying that they are anything but true or correct interpretations. In studying a language it is sometime good, however, to learn about word etymology if possible. Try listening for other uses of the same term. By getting use to hearing a certain phrase more than one way, you are setting the stage for solid language acquisition. In our tsumori bunpo we would want to know how meanings would affect our usage. Since tsumoru means to accumulate, to be piled or to be stacked up, when we literally translate example 1 above it becomes something like this - I have accumulated much the act of winning, Or, -I have a lot of winning put aside, the winning is all piled up over there. I hope you get my point here. It may sound a little wacky but remember… this is ‘ghetto’ grammar baby! Intentions are like a stack of things piled so high that the shear weight of it gives verbs and our ghetto grammar principles intentional potential.

This lesson brought to you by Makurasuki Sensei, Brett McCluskey Wishing all the best in your endeavors toward improving your Japanese. Ganbatte ne! Do your Best! Ja Mata Kondo! If you found this article helpful and want to really get good at Japanese or any language for that matter look for my articles at squidoo.com and also check out


[1] For more about how verbs are put into bases in Japanese see