779 - ~ようと思う(~ようとおもう)《I think I'll...》

JLPT N4: ~ようと思う(~ようとおもう)《I think I'll...

In the last N4 lesson, we saw that the ~よう verb conjugation can be used to say "I think I'll..."

For example, we saw this sentence:


今日は暑いから、スカートをこう
きょう は あつい から、 スカート を はこう。
It’s hot today, so I think I’ll wear a skirt.
Literally: “today + は + hot + because, + skirt + を + let’s wear (lower-body clothing).”


What we're looking at in this lesson is very similar, as we're just adding the verb 思う (おもう // to think) (with the particle before it) to the end of our ~ようverb.

The meaning in this case remains "I think I'll..."

So one could also say:


今日は暑いから、スカートをこうと思います
きょう は あつい から、 スカート を はこう と おもいます。
It’s hot today, so I think I’ll wear a skirt.
Literally: “today + は + hot + because, + skirt + を + let’s wear (lower-body clothing) + と + think.”


So what's the difference between these two sentences?

Well, the version without 思う has more of a nuance that the speaker is talking to herself (out loud).

The version with 思う sounds like this information is being provided to someone else.

Here's another example of this:


A:
僕はバスでろうと思いますが、こずえさんは?
ぼく は バス で かえろうとおもいます が、 こずえ さん は?
I think I’ll go home by bus. How about you, Kozue-san?
Literally: “I + は + bus + で + let’s go home + と + think + が, + Kozue-san + は?”


B:
うーん、私は歩いてろうと思います
うーん、 わたし は あるいて かえろうとおもいます。
Hmm… I think I’ll walk home.
Literally: “hmm, + I + は + walk (and) + let’s go home + と + think.”




Now for the confusing part.

You have to be careful about how you conjugate the verb 思う in these sentences.

When 思う is conjugated into the present (or past) progressive tense (i.e. 思っています [おもっています] or 思っている [おもっている]), the nuance is that the speaker has been resolved to perform the action in question for some time.

In other words, it is not a decision that was made spontaneously.

In short:

V よう思う/思います
I think I'll VERB

V よう思っている/思っています
I'm thinking of VERB-ing; I've been thinking of VERB-ing


Here's an example of this in action:


北海道に引っ越して、農業を始めようと思っています
ほっかいどう に ひっこして、 のうぎょう を はじめようとおもっています。
I’m thinking of moving to Hokkaido and becoming a farmer.
Literally: “Hokkaido + に + move (and), + farming / agriculture + を + let’s start + と + am thinking.”


Because of the difference in meaning that results from using 思っています instead of 思います, a sentence like this sounds strange:


✕ あ、お土産屋さん。ちょっと寄ってこうと思っています
✕ あ、 おみやげやさん。 ちょっと よって いこう と おもっています。
✕ Oh, a souvenir shop. I’m thinking of stopping in there for a bit.
✕ Literally: “ah, + souvenir shop. + a little bit + stop by / make a short visit (and) + let’s go + と + am thinking.”


It sounds strange because the speaker appears to be making the decision to go into the souvenir shop right now. Accordingly, it would make more sense to say 思います instead of 思っています:


〇 あ、お土産屋さん。ちょっと寄ってこうと思います
〇 あ、 おみやげやさん。 ちょっと よって いこう と おもいます。
〇 Oh, a souvenir shop. I think I’ll stop in there for a bit.
〇 Literally: “ah, + souvenir shop. + a little bit + stop by / make a short visit (and) + let’s go + と + think.”




You don't necessarily have to be considering something right now in order to use this grammatical construction.

For instance, in the next sentence we see that the speaker had been thinking of doing one thing, but now is thinking of doing another thing:


あの時は、卒業したら専門学校にこうと思っていましたが、今はイタリアに留学しようと思っています
あの とき は、 そつぎょう したら せんもんがっこう に いこうとおもっていました が、 いま は イタリア に りゅうがく しようとおもっています。
At that time, I had been thinking of attending a technical school after graduating, but now I’m thinking of studying abroad in Italy.
Literally: “that + time + は, + graduation + if/when (I) did + technical school / vocational school + に + let’s go + と + was thinking + が (=but), + now + は + Italy + に + studying abroad + let’s do + と + am thinking.”




Not surprisingly, you cannot use ~ようと思う to describe what other people are thinking of doing... unless you somehow indicate your source of information (i.e. use a hearsay marker or indicate that you're inferring this somehow).

In other words, use phrases like ようだそうだらしい、etc. when you are talking about what other people are thinking of doing:


A:
恵美ちゃん、学校を辞めようと思っているらしいよ。
えみ ちゃん、 がっこう を やめようとおもっている らしい よ。
Apparently Emi-chan is thinking of quitting school.
Literally: “Emi-chan, + school + を + let’s quit + と + is thinking + らしい (=[hearsay marker]) + よ.”


B:
えっ、どうして?
えっ、どうして?
What? Why?
Literally: “huh? + why?”




When you want to emphasize that you are not even considering an action — that you have no intention of doing something — you can use the present-tense negative form of 思う, which is 思わない (おもわない) or 思いません (おもいません), and put the particle before it:


私は悪くないのだから、ろう思いません
わたし は わるくない のだ から、 あやまろうとはおもいません。
I didn’t do anything wrong, so I have no intention of apologizing.
Literally: “I + は + not bad + のだ + から (=because), + let’s apologize + と + は + do not think.”




I use this grammar all the time. It's very useful.

Accordingly, you might want to read through this lesson multiple times, then try to form some of your own sentences.

In other news, we still have quite a few lessons left that utilize ~よう in various grammar patterns.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I know. It's very exciting.




Noticed any typos we've missed or other issues?
Report them here at this link.

Have questions about something in this lesson? Something not quite clicking yet? Join our discord community and discuss any questions / comments with us and fellow students.
You can join by heading to this link.