Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 3: 4/22


Just, Only, Nothing but

ばっかり, ばっか, ばかし, and ばっかし are all fairly common casual variations of ばかり


Verb[て]+ ばかり
Noun + ばかり


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About ばかり

When used after verbs followed by the conjunction particle て, or nouns, the adverbial particle ばかり highlights that 'nothing but (A) is being done', or 'only (A) exists'. In relation to verbs, てばかり is often followed by いる, as a modified version of the standard ている. However, adding いる is not a requirement, and the same nuance may be conveyed without it.
  • 先生(せんせい)はいつも(おこ)ってばかりいる。
    Our teacher does nothing but yell.
  • 最近(さいきん)はお菓子(かし)ばかり()ているから、お(なか)てきた
    Recently, I've been eating nothing but junk, so my stomach is bulging out.
When a sentence consists of a part (A) and a part (B), ばかり will be followed by either で (with verbs or nouns), or いて (only with verbs). This is when ばかり appears directly before the sentence conjunction point, and other combinations are possible (such as ばかりだから).
  • 先月(せんげつ)()まれた息子(むすこ)ずっと()いてばかりいて、全然(ぜんぜん)()ない
    My son who was born last month does nothing but cry, so I can't sleep.
  • (かれ)毎日(まいにち)残業(ざんぎょう)してばかり全然(ぜんぜん)(いえ)(こと)手伝(てつだ)てくれない
    All he does is work overtime everyday, and he won't help me with house chores.
  • (かれ)(くち)()ける文句(もんく)ばかり一緒(いっしょ)いるだけで(つか)れる。
    When he opens his mouth, all he can do is complain, so just being with him is exhausting.
It should be noted that the で with ばかり here is not the particle で, but the conjunctive form of the auxiliary verb, .
Fun Fact
ばかり is rarely seen using kanji, but it originally comes from (ばか)り (sometimes (はか)る). This kanji means 'to let off', or 'to let through', and implies that (A) is the only thing that is being 'permitted' in a specific situation.


  • (かれ)いつも(うそ)ばかり()っている。

    He does nothing but tell lies.

  • (わたし)(おとうと)ゲームをしてばかりです

    My little brother does nothing but play video games.

  • (あま)(もの)()べてばかりいると、虫歯(むしば)()える。

    If you eat sweets only, you will have more cavities.

  • 人生(じんせい)つらいことばかりではない。いい()ある

    Life is not always hard. There are good days too.

  • いつももらってばかりすみません

    It seems that I do nothing but receive (gifts) from you. Sorry about that.

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ばかり – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (14 in total)

  • Megumin


    Probably I posted this on the wrong grammar point, I tried to avoid creating a new one. Quoting from this website:

  • gyroninja


    Well I just checked a single sentence for the たばかり grammar point and it gave a warning / hint when attempting to use たところ.

  • Megumin


    You are right, I guess I just either hit one that doesn’t have it (highly unlikely) or I used it the wrong way (more likely).

    Just tried it the other way around and it also gave me the warning/hint.

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