Using する and なる with the に particle

We can use the verbs 「する」 and 「なる」 in conjunction with the 「に」 particle to make various useful expressions. We are used to using the object particle with 「する」 because something is usually done to something else. We will see how the meaning changes when we change the particle to 「に」. As for 「なる」, it is always used with the 「に」 particle because “becoming” is not an action done to something else but rather a target of change. The only grammatical point of interest here is using 「なる」 with i-adjectives and verbs.

Using 「なる」 and 「する」 for nouns and na-adjectives


  1. 彼 【かれ】 – he; boyfriend
  2. 日本語 【に・ほん・ご】 – Japanese (language)
  3. 上手 【じょう・ず】 (na-adj) – skillful
  4. なる (u-verb) – to become
  5. 私 【わたし】 – me, myself, I
  6. 医者 【い・しゃ】 – doctor
  7. 有名 【ゆう・めい】 (na-adj) – famous
  8. 人 【ひと】 – person
  9. ハンバーガー – hamburger
  10. サラダ – salad
  11. する (exception) – to do
  12. 他 【ほか】 – other
  13. いい (i-adj) – good
  14. 物 【もの】 – object
  15. たくさん – a lot (amount)
  16. ある (u-verb) – to exist (inanimate)
  17. やはり/やっぱり – as I thought
  18. これ – this

As already explained, using 「なる」 with nouns and na-adjectives presents nothing new and acts pretty much the way you’d expect.

  1. 日本語上手なった
    His Japanese has become skillful.
  2. 医者なった
    I became a doctor.
  3. 有名なる
    I will become a famous person.

For adjectives, using the verb 「する」 with the 「に」 particle is just a review back to the lesson on adverbs. However, for nouns, when you use the verb 「する」 with the 「に」 particle, it means that you are going to do things toward something. This changes the meaning of 「する」 to mean, “to decide on [X]”. This is a common expression to use, for instance, when you are ordering items on a menu.

  1. は、ハンバーガーサラダします
    I’ll have the hamburger and salad. (lit: I’ll do toward hamburger and salad.)
  2. いいものたくさんあるけど、やっぱりこれする
    There are a lot of other good things, but as I thought, I’ll go with this one.

If you think this expression is strange, think about the English expression, “I’ll go with the hamburger.” Exactly where are you going with the hamburger?

Using 「なる」 with i-adjectives


  1. 去年 【きょ・ねん】 – last year
  2. ~から (particle) – from ~
  3. 背 【せ】 – height
  4. 高い 【たか・い】 (i-adj) – high; tall; expensive
  5. なる (u-verb) – to become
  6. 運動 【うん・どう】 – exercise
  7. する (exception) – to do
  8. ~から (particle) – ~ so
  9. 強い 【つよ・い】 (i-adj) – strong
  10. 勉強 【べん・きょう】 – study
  11. たくさん – a lot (amount)
  12. 頭 【あたま】 – head
  13. いい (i-adj) – good

Because the 「に」 particle is a target particle that is used for nouns and by extension na-adjectives, we need to use something else to show that something is becoming an i-adjective. Since “becoming” expresses a change in state, it makes sense to describe this process using an adverb. In fact, you’ll notice that we were already using adverbs (of a sort) in the previous section by using 「に」 with na-adjectives.

  1. 去年から高くなったね。
    Your height has gotten taller from last year, huh?
  2. 運動しているから、強くなる
    I will become stronger because I am exercising.
  3. 勉強たくさんしたから、よくなった
    Since I studied a lot, I became smarter. (lit: head became better)

Using 「なる」 and 「する」 with verbs


  1. 海外 【かい・がい】 – overseas
  2. 行く 【い・く】 (u-verb) – to go
  3. こと – event, matter
  4. なる (u-verb) – to become
  5. 毎日 【まい・にち】 – everyday
  6. 肉 【にく】 – meat
  7. 食べる 【た・べる】 (ru-verb) – to eat
  8. する (exception) – to do
  9. 日本 【に・ほん】 – Japan
  10. 来る 【く・る】 (exception) – to come
  11. 寿司 【すし】 – sushi
  12. 一年間 【いち・ねん・かん】 – span of 1 year
  13. 練習 【れん・しゅう】 – practice
  14. ピアノ – piano
  15. 弾く 【ひ・く】 (u-verb) – to play (piano, guitar)
  16. 地下 【ち・か】 – underground
  17. 入る 【はい・る】 (u-verb) – to enter
  18. 富士山 【ふ・じ・さん】 – Mt. Fuji
  19. 見える 【み・える】 (ru-verb) – to be visible

You may be wondering how to use 「なる」 and 「する」 with verbs since there’s no way to directly modify a verb with another verb. The simple solution is to add a generic noun such as a generic event: こと) or an appearance/manner: よう). These nouns don’t refer to anything specific and are used to describe something else. In this case, they allow us to describe verbs in the same manner as nouns. Here are some examples of how to use these generic nouns with 「する」 and 「なる」.

  1. 海外行くことなった
    It’s been decided that I will go abroad. (lit: It became the event of going abroad.)
  2. 毎日食べるようなった
    It became so that I eat meat everyday. (lit: It became the appearance of eating meat everyday.)
  3. 海外行くことした
    I decided I will go abroad. (lit: I did toward the event of going abroad.)
  4. 毎日食べるようする
    I will try to eat meat everyday. (lit: I will do toward the manner of eating meat everyday.)

You can modify a verb with 「なる」 or 「する」 by first making it into a noun clause and then treating it just like a regular noun. Pretty clever, huh? I hope the literal translations give you a sense of why the example sentences mean what they do. For instance, in the fourth example, 「~ようする」 translates into “to make an effort toward…” but in Japanese, it’s really only a target towards acting in a certain manner.

Since potential verbs describe a state of feasibility rather than an action (remember, that’s why the 「を」 particle couldn’t be used), it is often used in conjunction with 「~ようなる」 to describe a change in manner to a state of feasibility. Let’s take this opportunity to get some potential conjugation practice in.

  1. 日本来て寿司食べられるようなった
    After coming to Japan, I became able to eat sushi.
  2. 一年間練習したから、ピアノ弾けるようなった
    Because I practiced for one year, I became able to play the piano.
  3. 地下入って富士山見えなくなった
    After going underground, Fuji-san became not visible.
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