Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

A sentence from Kanji in Context:


I get that it means something like everyone has individual strengths and weaknesses, and thus the world can go smoothly. But what does ようにできる mean here? Is it being used as the potential form of ようにする, i.e. the world can be made to go smoothly?

share|improve this question
Here's some example sentences for reference: eow.alc.co.jp/… – Flaw Sep 17 '13 at 15:55
I think できている is only possible when it's not being used as a potential form of する, because I don't think potential forms can take ~ている. (I'm not positive about when できている is permitted, though.) – snailplane Sep 17 '13 at 16:03
I'm pretty sure potential forms can take ている Ex: この作文よく書けていますね。 – Rodrigo Pará Sep 17 '13 at 18:55
@RodrigoPará Hmm, that's a good point. But I suppose in that case it's no longer being used as a potential form. I do see a question about it, which could probably use some elaboration... – snailplane Sep 17 '13 at 19:22
@snailboat: I think the 〜ている form here is using the progressive form to convey a state (and is therefore consistent with the answer to the question you cite) – Tim Sep 18 '13 at 14:23
up vote 3 down vote accepted

From my intuition, ように binds stronger to the left, and できている means "accomplished". So ようにできる falls apart into these two.

人には People - それぞれ every one of them - 長短があって have strengths (and weaknesses) - それで therefore - 世の中は the world - うまくいく smooth-going - ように like such - できている become - therefore のです.

"Various people each have their strengths (and weaknesses), and this is what makes the world keep on turning."

The できている I put into "makes" here.

share|improve this answer
If I had noticed this answer, I wouldn't have written mine. Upvoted. – Vitalie Ciubotaru Sep 18 '13 at 4:04


means something like "[thus] manages to go smoothly".

But what does ようにできる mean here?

It would be more logical to view ように as connected with うまくいく, not with できている. うまくいくように is just "[in order] to go smoothly". できている means that the world actually manages to "go smoothly". できる would sound more like potential "the would can go smoothly" not specifying whether it actually does so.

share|improve this answer
Oh, I just noticed another answer, by Jens Jensen. Mine pretty much reiterates the same idea. – Vitalie Ciubotaru Sep 18 '13 at 3:27

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.