Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 7: 18/21

う・よう + としたが

Tried to ~ but ~, Was about to ~ but ~, Was going to ~ but ~

けど、けれど、けども、けれども are all acceptable.


Verb[おう] + とし(1) + Result
Verb[おう] + とし + Result

(1) けれどもけれどけどもけれどもけど


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About Verb[volitional] + としたが

As mentioned in our ようとする lesson, when combined with the auxiliary verb う (or よう), とする carries the meaning of 'to try to do (A)', or 'to be about to do (A)'. The case marking particle と in this expression highlights a 'result'.
However, the addition of structures like the conjunction particles が, or たら, to the past tense of する will indicate that something interrupted (A), and therefore it was unable to be completed. In these cases, the translation becomes 'to have tried to do (A), but (B)', 'was about to (A), but (B), or 'was on the verge of (A), but (B)'.
  • クライアント電話(でんわ)()ようとしたが(よる)(おそ)かったので(あさ)まで()ことにした
    I tried to make a phone call to our client, but it was late at night so I decided to wait until morning.
  • (いけ)(およ)ごうとしたら警察(けいさつ)()められた。
    I was stopped by the police when I was about to swim in the lake.
  • ()ようとしたけど(つか)まったら大変(たいへん)なことになるから()なかった
    I was about to run away, but if I got caught, it would have become a bigger deal, so I didn't.
う and よう mark volition (the express intent to do something), while とする adds the nuance that the express intent has been decided, and all that remains is to 'do' the action. Due to this, when something interrupts a ようとする verb, it strongly suggests that (B) is/was highly unanticipated.


  • (ぼく)(かれ)同時(どうじ)にジャンプしようとしたけれど失敗(しっぱい)した。

    He and I both tried to jump at the same time, but messed up.

  • (わたし)彼女(かのじょ)手伝(てつだ)いをしようとしたが(ことわ)られた。

    I tried to offer my help, but was rejected.

  • (かれ)徹夜(てつや)ようとしたけれど()てしまった。

    He tried to pull an all-nighter, but fell asleep.

  • 犯人(はんにん)()ようとしたが、すぐに警察(けいさつ)犯人(はんにん)()()さえた。

    The criminal tried to run, but the police subdued him.

  • 勉強(べんきょう)ようとしたが、あまりにも(つか)れていたのでやめました。

    I tried to study, but I was too tired and I gave up.

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Verb[volitional] + としたが – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (7 in total)

  • seanblue


  • Johnathan-Weir


    Yeah I’m kinda wondering too. All the sentences use the formal forms けれど or が except one.

    Is this just a common way of using the phrasing or would it sound unnatural to use these in a friendly conversation?

  • Daru


    They are all acceptable. It’s just that they’re mostly used with formal variants so its better to make it a habit to use the ‘fully formal’ variants rather than the informal. (Which is why we mark it as a hint and not a mistake.)

    In the case of たら, there’s no informal way to state what たら states, that’s why its unchanged.

    Hope this helps!

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