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.

2 Answers 2


I couldn't find a proper reference. But ultimately it seems like the difference in meaning should be the same as the difference between だ and いる. The difference between being and existing.

カップラーメンを食べてばかりいます。They eat ramen all the time.

カップラーメンを食べてばかりです。 They only eat instant ramen. And maybe they will do so forever. They're that kind of people.

It seems to me the ばかりだ formulation is more judgemental regarding the very nature of the target of the affirmation. Whereas the ばかりでいる is merely an observation, though with a negative connotation too.




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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