Difference in usage between つもり and はず


I wrote a post on lang-8 where I wanted to try out using はず, since I’d just gone through the lesson on TextFugu. I wrote:

夕食後は、 タピオカティーを飲みに行くはずです。

Someone corrected it to say つもり instead of はず. I kind of understand why, since perhaps it’s more natural to say “We plan to get bubble tea after dinner” instead of “I expect we will get bubble tea after dinner” but now I am wondering when to use one and when to use the other.

Like, if I expect we will get bubble tea because we usually get it every week after dinner, then I thought はず would be appropriate, because there is a possibility we won’t get bubble tea, and also there weren’t specific concrete plans to get bubble tea, just that we usually get it after dinner so we probably will this week too.

Basically, what is the difference between the level of certainty between つもり and はず? Are there additional connotations apart from “plan to” and “expect to” that I should know about?


I think はず is about something that is out of your control, but you expect it. つもり describes your intention.


Ah! So maybe it doesn’t make sense to use はず about myself (or myself + someone else) at all then, since presumably I am in control of my own actions, lol.


From what I’ve learnt, はず would translate to “we’re supposed to” (which sounds demanding) as opposed to the natural つもり which I would read as “we plan/intend to…” with a neutral tone.

Let’s hear the masters.


I have the same understanding about the distinction between the terms. My understanding has been that つもり is most often used in formal contexts. I’ve been told by native speaking friends that it sounds a little robotic or facetious in casual settings. The other thing is it might be more natural just to say:


It doesn’t utilize either つもり or はず、but the fact that there is an intention or plan to get bubble tea is implied in the statement, even if those exact words aren’t used.

This wasn’t the original question, but I hope my input helps!


彼を殺すつもりです。I’m gonna kill him.

彼が死んだはずなのに、まだ行きている! Even though he should be dead, he’s still alive!


Ah, this is cool, I asked the person who corrected it what the difference is, and I got a reply :slight_smile:

「はず」と「つもり」は、使い方が全くちがいます。「つもり」は、 じぶんの「いし」⇒"intention"を表しますが、「はず」は、ある事情からそのようになるということを表す言葉です。飲みに行くという自身のすることは、「つもり」をつかいます。

I only half understand it though sad trombone. I caught the first part about つもり involving expressing your intention, but not quite sure about はず. Google translate says it “is a word expressing that because of certain circumstances.” Maybe someone who is more experienced would be kind enough to interpret for me :sweat_smile:


Yeah, it’s basically saying that はず is used when certain circumstances have caused something to become that way.

Which isn’t the core of the grammar, but it’s a prerequisite.




I think of them as meaning “intend” (つもり) and “surely” (はず). Maybe that will make it easier?

飲みに行くはずです = "will surely go to drink"
飲みに行くつもりです = “intend to go to drink”

Another thing, that threw me off a bit, is that when you use はず in the past, it means something was supposed to happen.

飲みに行くはずだったけど、時間かなかった = “was supposed to go to drink, but didn’t have the time”.