I'm not sure what this example sentence is trying to teach. The translation is really throwing me off.

I cannot even write easy kanji anymore

I see the "even ... easy kanji" and the "anymore" in なりました, but where's the cannot coming from?

  • 3
    Although I still think that 書けなりました is ungrammatical and most likely to be a typo for 書けなくなりました (as I wrote in comments on answers), I found an interesting blog post, in which the author is surprised by the large number of occurrences of “できなる,” which the author considers as ungrammatical: 「できなくなること」と「できなること」. Sep 8, 2011 at 1:07
  • 2
    @Tsuyoshi Ito: Searching the author's phrase "ができなることを" in quotes on Google, it reports 142,000 results for me (these things vary by user), but closer inspection of the results reveals they only go up to page 5 (46 results total). It may just be a case of someone who doesn't realize just how unreliable Google result counts can be.
    – Hyperworm
    Sep 8, 2011 at 2:16
  • @Hyperworm: Interesting, I should have tried that, especially because I had even written a post about it on meta.english.stackexchange.com! Sep 8, 2011 at 2:59
  • The typo hypothesis is especially plausible given the amount of people who may be typing on a mobile phone. With regard to Google hits, I may hesitate to cite them in a paper, but they're still an undeniably useful heuristic, especially for comparing two similar strings that return results differing on the order of a couple decimal places. Oddly though, Hyperworm's "ができなることを" only returns 57k results for me (showing little variance between browsers). Sep 8, 2011 at 14:16

2 Answers 2


This is a typo for 書けなくなりました (have become unable to write).

Where did the example sentence come from?

The / only operates on "なった" and not "なく なった": enter image description here

  • 3
    Besides, 書けなりました is ungrammatical. Sep 7, 2011 at 20:24
  • 1
    It came from one of the 日本語文法辞典. Might have been a transcription error though. Sep 7, 2011 at 21:16
  • 1
    I don't think it's a transcription error.. isn't it simply 書けなく(なった/なりました) => expanded to 書けなくなった/書けなくなりました ?
    – Pacerier
    Oct 7, 2011 at 13:08
  • 1
    @Pacerier: That's correct. I did not originally have this picture when I suggested the なく had been left out; the picture was edited in afterwards by Louis. It's clear now that the error came about from a misinterpretation of how to expand the slash.
    – Hyperworm
    Oct 7, 2011 at 18:02

Based on a few sentences I found on the internet, I think 書けなる might be a colloquial contraction of 書けなくなる and not simply a typo, although I'm not sure how widely it is used.

Example 1:


Example 2 (this one clearly shows that it is not a typo):


Example 3 (this one is a poem that uses both 書けなる and 書けなくなる):



The third example kinda hinted that there is a difference between 書けなる and 書けなくなる.

  • I view these examples just as an evidence that 書けなる is a common typo for 書けなくなる, because I had never heard of that expression (as something intended). I would not rule out the possibility that it is a dialect-specific expression which I have never heard of, but I would be surprised if that is the case. Sep 8, 2011 at 0:45
  • I'll try to stop by Kinokuniya to see if it was really intentional. Sep 8, 2011 at 21:05

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