[VS-series] 「気になる」 vs 「気にする」 vs 「気がする」

What is「気」?
It means the same as the Japanese word 「気持ち」, and in English, it is closer to “feeling” or “emotion”. It can be used for both good and bad feelings. Let’s learn the difference between similar idioms using the word 「気」 together.

Table of Contents

気になる (きになる)

(Sは) A (noun) が気になる

1- (A is things) to be curious; to be anxious
2- (A is people or things) to be interested in; to be attracted by
3- (その気になる) to be willing to do so; to be willing to do as you are told by other people

Both 1 and 2 represent a state in which something is unconsciously stuck in your mind. A can be used for both positive and negative things.
Since they are idioms for unconscious states, they are not used with imperative or prohibitive (imperative negative) forms.

3 means to be motivated to do a certain thing because the other person encourages you or says it well. When used for this meaning, it is not unconscious, so can be said in the imperative 「その気になれ」 or prohibitive 「その気になるな」.
When it comes to romantic situations or dating, it can also refer to “to have an intimate relationship” (like “to turn on”).

1- To be curious

“I’m curious about one phrase she casually said.”

“I am curious to see how this drama ends.”

2- To be interested in

“That girl (/boy) seems interested in me too.”

“Do you have any products you are interested in?”

3- To be willing to do so

“My homeroom teacher told me I could aim for the University of Tokyo as well, and I started to feel that way.”
*Tokyo University is the best (the most difficult to enter) university in Japan.

“Don’t fall for her just because she keeps smiling when she talks to you.”

気にする (きにする)

(Sは)A(noun [things]) を気にする
Definition: to care; to be worried; to mind; to be concerned

This idiom uses the word 「する」, unlike the 「なる」in「気になる」.
It indicates that you are concerned or care about certain things by your own will. Therefore, the imperative 「気にしろ」 and the imperative 「気にするな」 can also be used.
As opposed to「気になる」, it is used mainly to talk about negative things.

“Japanese people are always concerned about what others think.”

“He always talks that way, so don’t worry about it.”

気がする (きがする)

(Sは) A (verb [nothing or +ような] / noun[+な or +ような] / adjective[+な or +ような]) 気がする
Definition: to feel; to think; to get the feeling (sense) that …

It is an idiom used to say one’s thoughts softly and somewhat like the idiom “to get the feeling (sense) that …” in English. 「ような気がする」is often used mainly in written language or formal situations. (You can use this phrase in casual cases without any problem.)

“I think he has lost a lot of weight. Is he okay?”

“I get the feeling that the killer in this drama is that driver.”

“I feel like our office is dirtier than usual today.”


Based on the meaning of「気がする」, we also use「気はする」 and 「気もする」 by replacing the particles.

「気はする」 is used when you have some feelings but less than 「気がする」.
In addition, when there are feelings of agreeing and disagreeing about a certain thing, you contrast your feeling of agreement with your feeling of disagreement (while you avoid making firm statements).

“I feel a little lacking in having only fried rice for dinner.”
*It expresses a small amount of feeling of 「寂しい」.
*「寂しい」 here expresses a feeling of lack and insufficiency.

“Climbing Mt. Fuji seems a bit challenging, but I feel like seeing the view from the top.”
*The speaker contrasts his desire to see the view from Mt. Fuji with his feeling not to climb the mountain because it seems too difficult.


「気もする」 is used to state one of several feelings. It is also used when someone tells you something, and when you think about what they said, you start to feel so, too.

“I don’t want to eat food with big insects because it’s scary, but I also want to try some.”
*The speaker is afraid and does not want to eat it, but also has a feeling to want to try it.

“I feel like I’ve met the newly arrived teacher somewhere before, but I can’t remember where.”
*The speaker implies other feelings, such as the feeling that she/he may never have met the teacher.

“Now that you mention it, I’m starting to feel so.”

Key points


「気になる」 vs 「気にする」

・It is used when things are unconsciously stuck in your mind, whether positive or negative.
・It can also be used to be attracted to and interested in a person or thing.
・You cannot use the imperative or prohibitive form.

・It is used to express a feeling of concern about something negative and consciously worried.

「気がする」 vs 「気はする」 vs 「気もする」

・It is used to speak softly about what you feel or think. It is similar to “to get the feeling (sense) that …” in English.

・It is used when you feel less so than 「気がする」.
・It is used to describe the feeling of agreeing in contrast to the feeling of not agreeing.

・It is used to describe one of several feelings.
・It is also used when someone tells you something, and when you think about what they said, you start to feel so, too.