According to what I read, となる is the written counterpart of になる. Nevertheless, I stumbled upon some use of となる that seems not to fall under the typical usage of になる (which, for me, means "to become" as in 講師になった).

Sometimes となる seems to be used in place of the copula です. (Ex: 考{かんが}えを述{の}べる表現は「〜と思う。」となる)

Another use that I do not understand can be found in this example:

動詞は、述語 となる 三つの品詞の中で最も変化に富むもので、その文型もさまざまな種類があり ますが、動詞文の最も基本的な型は、次のように表すことができます。

in paragraph 1.1.3 動詞文 of 基本述語型と修飾語

Thus, my question is what do mean those usages of となる? And is there any other usage of となる?

  • I think なる is often used instead of ある. I think the となる in 述語となる品詞 means form/make/can be. なる is often used instead of ある after は, ば and と. Maybe it is similar to the use of will after if. In fact, words meaning be different and be the same are often verbs: 違う, 変わらない. – Yang Muye Jun 29 '14 at 11:12
  • @YangMuye, Thanks you for those hints. So となる is sometimes the same as である. May I ask you for examples with はなる・ばなる because I have never seen such ? On the other hand I did not really understand what you meant by "Maybe it is similar ..." to the end. – 永劫回帰 Jun 29 '14 at 11:57
  • 結果は次のようになります。お釣りは100円になります。I think they mean the same with です. Perhaps なる is used to represent to the dynamic process of drawing a conclusion from premises. Just like in English, you say “if it is ..., then something will be ...”. "then" and "will" have no temporal connotation, just required after "if". – Yang Muye Jun 29 '14 at 12:42
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    @YangMuye, Thanks I understand. May be you should consider turning those comments into an actual answer since, in my opinion, they are more an answer than comments. – 永劫回帰 Jun 29 '14 at 12:56

Like your example 述語となる品詞 already suggests, I've always understood it like this:

Whereas になる underlines a process of transformation from something to something, となる is more used when expressing "make up, equal, take the position of".

I.e. 教師になる means the end of the transformation "from student to teacher", whereas 教師となる would mean "take the position of teacher".

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となる does sometimes mean である. But I cannot exactly answer your questions, because I do not know how to use it, either.

If you search “となる” in BCCWJ, or weblio you can find many examples.

なる is often used instead of ある in these cases:

imperative: 強くあれ → 強くなれ
hope: 勇者でありたい → 勇者になりたい
potential: *勇者であれない → 勇者になれない; △勇者でありうる → 勇者になりうる
future: △勇者である → 勇者になる
(△ indicates the expression is grammatical, but probably means different things.)

I think the use of なる is explainable, and you can argue they all involve changes, so become is more appropriate than be. Nevertheless, the stative nature of ある seems to make it unsuitable in many situations.


Perhaps なる is used to represent to the dynamic process of drawing a conclusion from premises. Just like in English, you say “if it is ..., then something will be ...”. "Then" and "will" have no temporal connotation any more.


Another reason to use なる seems that なる is the intransitive counterpart of する, which also shares a similar function of passive and potential verbs. ある does not have the same function.

It seems that なる and する tend to be used to represent non-inherent qualities of something. So 中心となる星 does not mean 星 and 中心 are exactly the same thing. It means “星 is/can be taken as 中心”.

You can also find とする used in a similar way.


But I guess they might as well be viewed as idioms.

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  • The parallel you made between とする and となる is very interesting, I will dig a bit into that direction. – 永劫回帰 Jun 30 '14 at 11:34

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