How to say “In Other Words” in Japanese – つまり – JLPT N3 Grammar Point

JLPT N3 Grammar: How to Use つまり

If you are speaking in Japanese in a casual setting with coworkers or friends, you may want to do away with long form polite language and get “straight to the point”. In cases like this – there are several useful Japanese phrases that can help you.  One of which is つまり – tsumari. つまり(tsumari) is JLPT N3 level grammar that you can use in everyday conversation!
In Japanese, you can use the word つまり to summarize or to use the phrase “in short”.
Let’s look at the example of つまり to show what we are talking about.
(Sentence examples courtesy of

Example 1:
Watashiniha soredake no yoyū ga nakatta. Tsumari, mazushikute kaenakatta noda.
I couldn’t afford it – in other words I was too poor to buy it.
  Example 2:
Tsumari, anata wa orokada.   
In other words, you’re stupid.

How to construct a sentence with つまり

To construct a sentence with tsumari, you can either include it as the first word in the sentence.  Or use it to connect two similar ideas as below.
Format for sentences using つまり

Sentence 1 + つまり + sentence 2

A similarly related grammar point to tsumari – could be gurai or kurai.  Approximately or about.
We will continue to add JLPT Grammar Points to our blog – so stay tuned!
If you are looking for JLPT Prep Courses in Tokyo – click the link on the bottom of the page.  🙂

If you are interested in studying Japanese, find out more about our school by filling out the form below.

Test your Japanese level!

Do a self-test to see which course fits you.

Check your level