I'm pretty sure there is a difference between the use of these two words. I came across the example sentences:




I read from a textbook that きり means 「〜ままずっと」 and that っぱなし means 「ずっと+verb」. However, I'm thinking that the difference is that with きり, a negative situation exists that does not change (or does not hint at changing in the future). I also guess that っぱなし would indicate that a situation (negative) continued for a long time but then changed in the end. Does this seem correct?

I put the second example sentence because I was told by a native that when using きり it is usually followed by 〜ない. Though, the second example doesn't. Are there two possible meanings when using this grammatical form?

2 Answers 2


The difference, I believe, is that ~ぱなし refers to when something is left as it is for some amount of time, such as a window being left open. It can be either opened or closed at any time, it just happens to be left open for the amount of time being spoken about.

~きり refers to "completeness", so something has happened and is now finalized in that form. More like a window being broken. The "broken-ness" of the window is not something that we can easily switch from.

So in your first example, the son has gone into his room, and now he's done dealing with people. He's not coming out, the situation is ended. Presumably, the son will come out of the room again some time in his life, but the use of ~きり conveys a sentiment of finality - he won't come out for the rest of the day.

In your third example, there is no completion involved in standing on a train, it's just a situation that continues for a while in that state. Unlike the son in the room, there's nothing really final about the fact that the person on the train is standing. They could just as easily have been sitting if the train had not been as crowded, but they happened to be standing for the duration of the trip.

The second example is not an example of the きり grammatical construct you are talking about. It's part of a compound noun 付{つ}きっ切{き}り, which means "constant attendance" or "constant supervision".

Hope that helps.


AFAIK, っぱなし is the more rough/"spoken" form of ~放【はな】す (in the same way やっぱり comes from やはり, etc.). 放す means to "set free", "leave", etc., so っぱなし means that something remains in the state it was in after the action. However, it carries the nuance that the final state is something that is not normal and/or is undesirable.

窓を開けっぱなしにするな → Don't leave the window open!
...東京まで立ちっぱなしだった → Standing all the way to Tokyo (when it's expected you'd be able to sit).

As for ~きり, I'm pretty sure the pattern is ~た+きり, so your second example is wrong.

  • 1
    You are right about the pattern た+きり, but きり in かかりっきり is a different usage, and is grammatical.
    – user458
    Jun 14, 2012 at 3:49

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