Hi all I understand that つもり means "intention" like say 夏休みにはゆっくり休むつもりです。 = I intend to rest during the summer vacation.

But what does 分かっているつもりだ。 means?

Well if I translate directly, it seems to be "I intend to be in the know" ?

However the translation (not by me) was "I know that."

I'm just wondering how did it work out to be that way? What is the significance of that つもり in that question?

  • Hum. I can't find many instances of your sentence. I do find "分かったつもり", which means "I had the intention to understand" (but in fact, I did not understand a thing), but this is the opposite of the translation you gave. (Translation by whom, if I may?)
    – Axioplase
    Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 9:00
  • www.narutoget.com/watch/830-naruto-shippuden-episode-219-english-subbed/ at 1:54
    – Pacerier
    Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 9:09
  • Hum, let's do as if I already knew the sentence… I have no idea about the story, but maybe it's a nuance like "I (forcibly) acknowledge that"?
    – Axioplase
    Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 9:18
  • In my mind it means "That's what I figured", but I cannot explain why, so I'm not writing an answer.
    – repecmps
    Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 12:47
  • alternative link: tailedfox.com/page-naruto-shippuden-219
    – Pacerier
    Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 10:58

7 Answers 7


The translation 'intention' is not that bad, but maybe, 'have in mind' will work more generally.


I have in mind to take a full rest during the summer vacation.

In 分かっているつもりだ, つもり is one way of making your statement accurate, and in many cases polite. In linguistic terms, this is called a hedge. In this particular case, everyone might think herself/himself is right, but they can actually never be sure about their knowledge. If you simply say

I understand that ...,

then it might later, for some reason, turn out that you actually haven't understood it. In that case, you would be lying. But if, instead, you have said

I think I understand that ...,

then your statement remains true. The latter statement is more accurate. And it is also polite in not saying a lie, and for being careful about your words. It is the same thing for Japanese sentences

分かっている 'I know that'


分かっているつもりだ 'What I have in mind is I know that' or 'I think I know that'

  • 1
    thx, btw what's the difference between this usage of つもり and と思う ?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 15:41
  • 1
    つもり might have a slightly stronger degree of confidence than 思う.
    – user458
    Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 15:43
  • 1
    @Pacerier: つもり = conviction: "I perfectly know that"
    – repecmps
    Commented Jul 10, 2011 at 0:08
  • @Pacerier That is too strong.
    – user458
    Commented Jul 10, 2011 at 0:26
  • The dictionary says "conviction/belief" so I don't think it is too strong.
    – repecmps
    Commented Jul 10, 2011 at 1:15

I am a Japanese woman living in Osaka.

The phrase "分かっているつもりだ" implies a situation like "no matter how you say that I don't know about it, I believe that I know it very well".

See? If your girl friend said "hey, you don't know how I feel when you come home late!", then you can say "I have to work! But I know your feelings (分かっているつもりだ)".

Not only in a bad situations.

If you were a president of the US, you know the significance of your influence. Then you can say "As for the significance of my speeches, I think I know that very well(分かっているつもりだ)."



OK, as a Japanese native, let me explain more about it.

As repecmps mentioned, つもり has several meanings and usage depending on the situation. I would like to give you examples of usage of つもり, to show you the difference of nuance.

  1. 明日学校に行くつもりだ。
    I will (intend to) go to school tomorrow.

  2. a) あなたの気持ちはわかっているつもりだ。
    I believe I know your feelings well enough.

    I believe I know the business performance and financial situations of this company.

    c) 科学については、あなたより私のほうがわかっているつもりだ。
    I am confident that I know about science more than you do.

1) is a simple statement of a fact or intention. In case of 2-a, b and c, the character is somehow explaining him/herself, therefore often involve some kind of emotion, like the phrases below.

For example:


  1. あなたの気持ちはわかっているつもりだ。だから私を信頼してほしい。 I believe I know your feelings well enough, so please trust me.

  2. あなたの気持ちはわかっているつもりだ。でも私達は別れるしかない。 I believe I know your feelings well enough. But we have no choice other than breaking up.


  1. この会社の経営状況はわかっているつもりだ。だから私が次のCEOにふさわしい。 I believe I know the business performance and financial situations of this company, so I think I am suitable for the next CEO of this company.

  2. この会社の経営状況はわかっているつもりだ。だからこの投資は絶対利益になると確信している。 I believe I know the business performance and financial situations of this company, so I am perfectly positive that this investment will make an enormous benefit for us.


  1. 科学については、あなたより私のほうがわかっているつもりだ。だから知ったかぶりはしないほうがいい。 I am confident that I know about science more than you do, so you'd better stop the know-it-all attitude.

  2. 科学については、あなたより私のほうがわかっているつもりだ。でも日本の文化に関する知識については、あなたにはとてもかなわない。 I am confident that I know about science more than you do. But as for the knowledge of Japanese culture, I am no match to you.

Please forgive my poor English. I hope this will answer your question.


  • Cypher, thank you a lot, great explanation,it helped so much!
    – Fara
    Commented Feb 21, 2015 at 11:41

つもり also marks conviction/belief

つもり 《積もり(P); 積り》 (n) (1) (uk) intention; plan; (2) conviction; belief; (P)

I would say: "I perfectly know that" or "that's what I figured" are good translations for the following context:

"someone needs to restore order to the hierarchy in the village (because the current leader is not available)". The character answers "分かっているつもりだ". He is perfectly aware of the situation with the current leader and he knows he is the favorite for the place of leader.

  • Actually @Sawa may be correct from a native perspective. According to Goo 「つもりだ」 when not expressing the speaker's intention means「…と思っているらしい」「…と考えているそうだ」 and is used when discussing rumour or conjecture. Ref: dictionary.goo.ne.jp/leaf/thsrs/17334/m0u
    – crunchyt
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 23:42
  • @crunchyt: つもりだ has many meanings and they depends on the context. 1 meaning is conviction/belief and it fits perfectly the present context (which people need to look at before giving a guess) We're talking about facts, not rumor.
    – repecmps
    Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 2:02
  • @crunchyt: After looking at the dictionary entry, I confirm that there is no incertitude in the sentence. Thus making "I think" incorrect. It looks more like つもり implies a conclusion based on an observation: "That's what I figured", "It looks like it is", "I guess it is"...etc. So the character knows something (for sure) because of some recent events and facts.
    – repecmps
    Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 2:42

Another example of ways of using つもり:

  1. 天気についてはよく分かっている。だから明日は雪が降ると彼女に言うつもりだ。 I know about weather very well (so I can tell it will snow tomorrow), and I intend to tell her about it.

  2. 天気についてはよく分かっているつもりだ。だから明日は雪が降ると彼女に言う。 I am confident that I know about weather well enough (so I can tell it will snow tomorrow), and I will tell her about it.

I hope this can help you as well.


To the gentlemen above - it won't let me leave a comment because rep is too low, but...

My understanding is that 思う means 'to think', where as つもり means 'to intend'. So, you could say


= I think that apples are more delicious than sushi.

(my japanese is a little rough now actually.. somebody feel free to correct the grammar there.)

  • ok, but つもり has lots of different meanings depending on context. I think sawa's answer is not correct comparing it to "I think"
    – repecmps
    Commented Jul 10, 2011 at 1:18

As repecmps said, つもり can also indicate conviction or belief. So in your example, 分かっているつもりだ means "I think I understand (but I could be wrong, or my understanding could be incomplete)," rather than "I intend to be in the know."

  • I personally think the idea of incertitude that everyone is referring to, is coming from a confusion with the main meaning of つもり (intend) when IMO, both meanings are independent. I believe "I think" and incertitude don't have their place here.
    – repecmps
    Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 2:33

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