ことになる Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Phrase
Essential Meaning: It has been decided that / It will be decided that / It has come to be that
- Verb informal nonpast + [ことになる / ことになった]
- E.g. 話すことになる [It will be decided that X will speak]
- E.g. 食べることになった [It was decided that X will eat]
- ことになる conveys the idea that some decision or arrangement is or will be made by some unspecified agent other than the speaker. This is similar to the passive voice in the sense that the decision affects the speaker in some way, but the person who actually makes the decision is not relevant. ことになる translates to “It has been decided that“, “It has been arranged that“, or “It has come to be that…“.
- In very humble speech, a speaker can use ことになる to describe a purposeful decision. ことになる is indirect and therefore humble.
- E.g. 今日山田先生に会うことになっています。[It’s been decided that I will be meeting with Yamada-sensei today.] Depending on the context, the decision to meet with Yamada-sensei could have been made by an unspecified agent, or it could be a humble personal decision.
- The stative form ことになっている indicates that some decision or arrangement was made by an unspecified agent in the past and remains in effect through the present. This form may convey established rules, customs, et cetera.
- E.g. スミスさんは日本で英語を教えることになっている。[It was decided some time in the past that Mr Smith will teach English in Japan.]
- E.g. 日本では車は道の左側を走ることになっている。[In Japan, it’s an established rule that cars drive on the left.]
私は来年大阪に転勤することになった。[It was decided that I will be transferred to Osaka.]
私は来月から会社に務めることになりました。[It was decided that I will begin working for a company next month.]
来年六月に結婚することになりました。[It has been decided that I will get married next June.]
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