Wild Nihongo!
なくなる

なくなる

なくなる Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Phrase

Essential Meaning: Not ~ any more / Don’t do ~ any more

Construction: 

  • Verb informal negative + なくなる
    • E.g. はなさなくなる [X no longer speaks]
    • E.g. べなくなる [X no longer eats]
  • い-Adjective Stem + くなくなる
    • E.g. たかくなくなる [X is no longer expensive]
  • (な-Adjective Stem / Noun) + [では / じゃ] + なくなる
    • E.g. しずかじゃなくなる [X is no longer quiet]
    • E.g. 先生せんせいじゃなくなる [X is no longer a teacher]

Notes:

  • なくなる expresses the idea that some state is no longer the case or that some action no longer takes place (e.g. “Mickey Mouse is no longer popular” or “Bob can’t do a pull-up anymore“). なくなる implies that there is some underlying cause for this change, and that this cause-effect relationship is relatively direct and straightforward. You can specify the time frame over which the change takes place by affixing an adverb or time expression such as きゅうに [Rapidly], 突然とつぜん [Suddenly], and 一年いちねんのうちに [Within a year] before なくなる.
    • E.g. やさしい漢字かんじけなくなった。[I can’t even write easy kanji anymore.] In this example, なくなる implies that the process of becoming unable to write the Kanji is based on a straightforward cause (e.g. the speaker didn’t study).
    • E.g. わたし漢字かんじきゅうけなくなった。[I quickly became unable to write Kanji.] The adverb きゅうに implies that the process of becoming unable to write kanji was rapid.
    • E.g. わたし漢字かんじ突然とつぜんけなくなった。[I suddenly became unable to write Kanji.] The adverb 突然とつぜん implies that becoming unable to write kanji happened suddenly. Perhaps the speaker bumped his head and forgot all of his Japanese.
  • To express a more lengthy or indirect process of change (e.g. “It has come to the point where X no longer takes place”), you can use ようになる instead of なくなる. ようになる implies that the change is somewhat indirect and circumstantial (i.e. brought about by external circumstances and not by the subject’s direct agency). Note that because ようになる indicates a gradual change, adverbs indicating immediacy (such as きゅうに [Rapidly] and 突然とつぜん [Suddenly] are inappropriate.
    • E.g. 日本語にほんごはなせないようになった。[I’ve reached the point where I can no longer speak Japanese (and the process was relatively lengthy and due to circumstances beyond my immediate control).]
  • There is a third expression, もう~ない, that has a similar meaning to both なくなる and ようになる. The difference is that もう ~ ない focuses solely on the result (i.e. the fact that some action or process no longer takes place) and it does not imply anything about the underlying context, time frame, or reasoning for the change. Thus, もう ~ ない cannot take contextual adverbs such as 一年いちねんのうちに [Within a year], きゅうに [Rapidly], et cetera.
    • E.g. 日本語にほんごがもうはなせない。[I can’t speak Japanese anymore (and no further information can be inferred).]
  • The following examples demonstrate the differences in meaning among なくなる, ようになる, and もう ~ ない.
    • E.g. 日本語にほんごはなせなくなった。[I cannot speak Japanese any more (due to circumstances that were fairly direct and within my control).]
    • E.g. 日本語にほんごはなせないようになった。[I’ve reached the point where I can no longer speak Japanese (and the process was relatively lengthy and due to circumstances beyond my immediate control).]
    • E.g. 日本語にほんごがもうはなせない。[I can’t speak Japanese anymore (and no further information can be inferred).]

Example Sentences:

まえさけをよくんでいたが、このごろはまなくなりました。[Before, I drank alcohol often. These days, I don’t drink alcohol any more.]

かれまえよく電話でんわをかけてましたが、もうかけてなくなりました。[Before, he used to call me often. But he doesn’t call me anymore.]

日本語にほんごはもうむずかしくなくなりました。[Japanese is no longer difficult for me.]

この郊外こうがい地下鉄ちかてつ不便ふべんではなくなった。[This suburb got a subway as well, so it’s not inconvenient any more.]

やっと大学だいがく学生がくせいではなくなりました。[I finally graduated from university, so I’m not a student any more.]

WILD Examples:

The chorus at 0:50 begins like this: むねなかにあるもの、いつかえなくなるもの, それはそばにいるもの、いつもおもして [The things that are in your chest, the things that will someday disappear (i.e. become unable to see anymore), always remember that they are right by your side]

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