Wild Nihongo!
ようになる

ようになる

ようになる Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Phrase

Essential Meaning: X has reached the point that / It has come to the point where

Construction: 

  • Verb informal nonpast + ようになる
    • E.g. はなすようになる [It has come to the point where X speaks]
    • E.g. べるようになる [It has come to the point where X eats]

Notes:

  • ようになる indicates a gradual change and roughly translates to “X reaches the point that” or “It has come to be that“. ようになる may express a natural process or the gradual formation of some habit.
    • E.g. Natural process: むずかしい日本語にほんごめるようになりました。[I’ve reached the point where I am able to read difficult Japanese.]
    • E.g. Formation of a habit: はやしさんはさけまないようになった。[Hayashi-san has reached the point where he no longer drinks sake.]
  • If an adverb that indicates rapidity such as きゅうに [Suddenly] precedes ようになる, the phrase takes on a sense of rapidity rather than gradual change. However, when ようになる is preceded by a negative verb, the change MUST be gradual.
    • E.g. うちの最近さいきんきゅう勉強べんきょうするようになったんですよ。[Recently, our child rapidly reached the point where he studies.] The adverb gives the sentence a strong sense of rapidity.
    • E.g. はやしさんはさけまないようになった。[Hayashi-san has reached the point where he no longer drinks sake.] Due to the negative predicate, this sentence definitely conveys a gradual process.
  • The stative form ようになっている is used to refer to the current state that has come about after a long process.
    • E.g. このみちいまとおれないようになっている。[This street is currently at the point where it cannot be used.] In this sentence, the road has apparently deteriorated gradually over time, and in its current state it is uncrossable.
  • When ようになる is negated, the meaning changes depending on whether the main predicate is negated or whether なる is negated. Specifically, when the main predicate is negated the sentence means “It has reached the point where X is not the case” and when なる is negated the sentence means “It hasn’t yet reached the point where X is the case“. In other words:
    • Xないようになる indicates that after a long process, X has been negated or is no longer the case.
      • E.g. 漢字かんじおぼえられないようになった。[I’ve reached the point where I can no longer memorize kanji.] In this sentence, the speaker used to be able to memorize kanji, but he or she has gradually lost that ability.
    • Xようにならない means that one hasn’t yet reached the point where X becomes the case.
      • E.g. 漢字かんじおぼえられるようにならなかった。[I haven’t yet reached the point where I can memorize kanji.] In this sentence, the speaker has not yet gone through the process of becoming able to memorize kanji.
  • The negative form ないようになる is comparable to the construction なくなる. The difference is that なくなる is not necessarily a gradual change and may in fact be a rapid change.
    • E.g. はやしさんはさけまなくなった。[Hayashi doesn’t drink sake any more.] In this example, the focus is on the fact that Hayashi-san no longer drinks sake; the rapidity of this change is not relevant.
  • ことになる is another similar phrase that means “It has been decided that~“. The difference is that ことになる expresses a situation has come about based on someone else’s decision and not through a gradual process.
    • E.g. わたし大阪おおさか転勤てんきんすることになりました。[It has been decided that I will transfer to Osaka.] In this example, some unnamed third party made the decision that the speaker will transfer to Osaka. The rapidity of this decision is not relevant.

Example Sentences:

ジャクソンさんは日本語にほんごはなせるようになった。[Mr. Jackson reached the point where he can speak Japanese.]

はやしさんはさけまないようになった。[Hayashi-san has reached the point where he no longer drinks sake.]

ジョンはわたしはなさないようになった。[It has reach the point where John no longer speaks to me.]

もうすぐおもしろさがかるようになりますよ。[Soon you will reach the point where you understand the fun of it.]

このまちとおれないようになっている。[This street is currently at the point where it cannot be used.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line at 3:30: なやんでぼくらはまたしららない場所ばしょるようになる [We who are troubled will once again get to the point where we can know the places that we once knew]
Listen to this line at 0:53: すいすいほそふく似合にあうようになるのよ [I reach the point where thin and light clothes look good on me]

***YouTube videos may be region-locked depending on your country of origin. If you experience issues, please try using a VPN set to a United States IP address.***