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What exactly is なり? It is a conjugable suffix (助動詞). It attaches to the attributive (連体形), a substantive, or an uninflected adjective. It expresses designation (指定) or predication (断定). It is basically equivalent to である or だ. You may consider it a copula. As a conjugable suffix, it has multiple forms: nar-a, nar-i / ni, nar-i, nar-u, nar-e, nar-e. ...
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