"Decided to do" nuance. Help please! (つもり/~と思っています/~ことにする)

Hey everyone.

Could someone please help me understand the differences in these grammar points.


My understanding of them is that they all mean something along the lines of “I decided to… / I’m going to…” but I’m not at all sure in which situation one is more appropriate than another.

Any help would be great!


I’m gonna assume it’s a typo and should be ~と思っています instead of ~て思っています

I covered volitional form + と思っています some time ago in class and the teacher differentiates it from つもり in that the latter is already more solidly planned, whereas と思っています depicts your intention but your planning might be a little less in place than with つもり。

Both mean the same thing, but the second one sounds stronger and could imply that you have your tickets booked and everything’s settled.

And then there’s volitional form + と思います which according to genki 2 implies that you just made that decision on the spot, as compared to ~と思っています in which you already planned to do something before the conversation takes place.

As for ~ことにする, my impression is that sentences with this phrase have an emphasis on the decision making itself rather than the decision. (E.g. I’ve decided to lose weight.)

That’s my take on this anyway, feel free to add to/correct whatever I wrote :slight_smile:

On another note, Japanese is full of these kinds of delicate linguistic differences that after some time I just stopped looking up every single one and just try to read more and immerse myself in the language to get the “feel” of it. It’s also the beauty of Japanese :wink:


Here is how I use them in daily conversation. :slight_smile:

ことにする — I’ve made the decision to… and intend to do this (implying previous consideration)
I’ve decided to quit smoking.

Volitional + と思っている — I’ve been thinking and…
I’ve thought about it and I’ll go to the party.

つもり — I intend to… (implying thought and planning so it’s for all intents definite)
Next year I intend to study abroad in Japan.

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Yeah, typo! Thanks, edited it out!

Thanks for the explanation, too. Makes sense to me!

I can’t read an awful lot at the moment but I’m slowly making my way through Yotsuba. I try NHK easy now and then but most of the articles are above my level still.

Also really handy. Thanks!

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You’re gna be surprised at how much of a difference 5-10 levels of WK makes in reading NHK easy :wink: I was soo happy the moment I realised I can actually start reading articles after articles rather comfortably (probably around level 18 or so for me, and then it just gets easier and easier :slight_smile: ).

(i.e. I stopped swearing, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN NHK EASY?” :joy: )

not so secretly pleased contributing to a grammar qn when half a year ago I was asking questions like when to use を for する verbs :sweat_smile:

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“[I] plan ___” / “[I’m] thinking ___” / “[I’ve] decided ___”

わたしはとしょかんにいくつもり。 → I plan to go to the library

わたしはこんやのパティーにやっぱりいきたくないとおもっています。-> I’m still thinking that I do not want to go to the party tonight. [Implying that I’ve decided not to go]

みんなでいっしょうにいざかやにいくことにする。-> Ok, we’ve decided [now] that everyone will go to the izakaya together.

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Nice! Thanks for the response. Starting to make a lot more sense now!


Cool! It feels good to be able to answer a question like that. Sometimes I feel my Japanese will never improve even though I’ve been living in Nagasaki for a year. Moments like this help so very much. :blush:
For me, talking is the worst. Listening, reading, writing come naturally, but my mind locks when I try to speak. I get the message across but it’s total pigin.

Good luck with your continued studies!! :v:t2::ok_hand:t2::+1:t2:

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