Can anyone please explain the nuances between ~てばかりいる and ~てばかりだ?

I've come across several sentences like:






but don't understand what the difference is.

Someone told me ~てばかりだ is rarely used. Someone else said that one is more formal and objective than the other. Websites have said that they're both the same. I'm so confused.

1 Answer 1


IMO both are interchangeable. I can agree that the form ~てばかりだ is perhaps used less frequently. Perhaps it's only used by relatively skilled speakers/writers. That said I wouldn't say it's "rarely used". E.g. both あいつは菓子食ってばっかり! or あいつは菓子食ってばかりいるね would be a common pattern you'd hear in daily conversations.

I can't think of any difference in nuance between the two. If I'm forced to come up with something: ばかり generally gives the act a negative connotation. However, one can use it to describe something positive. I think ばかりいる is a tad easier to use it in this way (あいつは子供の面倒を見てばかりいる), whereas that feels a bit harder with ばかり(あいつは子供の面倒を見てばかり).

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