Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 6: 17/24

う・よう + としない
not willing to, not make an effort to, to not attempt to/try to, volitional + としない

Structure
Casual
Polite
Verb[おう] + としない
Verb[おう] + としません
Details
Register Standard
使用域 一般
Information
Like ~ようと思う ‘I think that I shall do (A)’, ~ようとしない is a combination of a verb that has been grouped with the 助動詞(じょどうし) (auxiliary verb) う (or よう), followed by the 格助詞(かくじょし) (case marking particle) と, and then another verb. In this case, する. ~ようとしない is often translated as ‘shall not (A)’, but with emphasis on a lack of effort, or willingness.
  • 彼(かれ)は怒(おこ)っているから、誰(だれ)話(はなし)も聞(き)こうとしない
    Since he is angry, he is not willing to listen to what anyone has to say.
  • 家(いえ)なかなか帰(かえ)ろうとしない
    He isn't quite trying to go home. (It doesn't seem like he is going to leave anytime soon)
Caution
As ~ようとしない implies a lack of effort, this expression is usually quite negative, and mostly refers to other people, rather than the speaker themselves. If ~ようとしない were used to refer to the speaker, it will come across as ‘I shall not do (A)’, which would sound very abrupt/potentially rude. If speaking about yourself, ようと思(おも)わない may be used instead, meaning ‘I don’t think I shall do (A)’, or ‘I think I shan't do (A)’.
  • 自分(じぶん)から買(か)って食(た)べようと思(おも)わないけど、誰(だれ)か貰(もら)ったら食(た)べるかも。
    I don't think I would eat it if I had to buy it myself, but I might if someone gave it to me.
  • 私(わたし)は性格(せいかく)変(か)えようと思(おも)わない
    I think I shan’t change my personality.
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彼(かれ)自分(じぶん)悪(わる)いことをしても、決(けっ)して認(みと)めようとしない
Even if he does something bad, he will not make an effort to admit it.
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彼女(かのじょ)好(す)き男(おとこ)を諦(あきら)めようとしない
She is not willing to give up on the man she likes.
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皆(みんな)に嫌(きら)われているのに、性格(せいかく)を変(か)えようとしないの?
Even though you’re disliked by everyone you won’t try to change your personality?
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