I basically have two questions:

When we use なくなる we basically force the verb to be in negative so that we can replace い by く and then add なる. For example: 見えなくなる (to become not visible). My question is, what if I want to use it in positive, meaning "to become visible"?

Second question, which is related to the first. I have the following sentence: ナスはほぼカロリーないが、揚げ油が2/3くらい吸われてなくなる which I think I can translate for "Eggplants have no calories but the suck 2/3 of the frying oil". However, it is using なくなる which for me, it implies that the verb 吸う has been first converted into negative form 吸われてない and then replace it by なくなる. The question is, how can it have a positive meaning while having a negative conjugation?


  • Briefly: 見えない→見えなくない→見えなくなくなる [not(visible), not(not(visible)), become(not(not(visible)))] But this is an awkward construction that should really only be used in jest. The closest thing to this I encounter in daily conversation is the explicit double negative (using your invisibility example: 見えなくはない) used to indicate a meaning close to the negative, but not quite there. Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 7:22

3 Answers 3

  1. That's a good question. The grammatical opposite of 見えなくなる would be 見えるようになる (raw verb needs ように unlike the negative has adjective-adverb conjugation), but it's more strongly associated with the other meaning of 見える, "able to see". It's also natural to use 見えるようになる in the setting "come within the scope of sight" (e.g. 夏の星座が見えるようになる), but for fading and emerging kind of visibility change, you could instead use 現れる "appear" or 出てくる "pop up" etc.

  2. 「吸われてなくなる」 is two phrases, 吸われて、なくなる "be sucked, and lost" (≈ "be soaked up"). Do not confuse it with negative-passive-ている form 吸われて(い)ない ("not (yet) be sucked"). Actually, there's no chance of confusion, because you can't attach なる to 吸われていない, since ている and なる conflict as both semantically represent aspect-like feature of a verb.

  • @macraf ている is a special form beyond just te-form + いる. Does it answer you? Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 5:39
  • @macraf then it only means て、なる and never forms a single unit with the previous verb. Not "come to V" or any kind. Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 5:51

For "to become visible", you can use "見えるようになる".

In the sentence, 揚げ油が2/3くらい吸われてなくなる, it is should be divided as:
揚げ油が (the frying oil) 2/3くらい (about 2/3 of) 吸われて (is absorbed) なくなる (disappeared).

The negative of "吸われる" is "吸われない", not "吸われてない". The "て" here separates the two verbs "吸われる" and "なくなる". So the sentence means:
About 2/3 of the frying oil is absorbed and disappeared.


For the first question you can use ように+なる. For example, 見えるようになる means "to become visible".

For the second part, I think it is 吸われて+なくなる. That is, it's two different verbs. The first one, 吸う, is in the passive て-form to connect with なくなる “to disappear". Notice that here that が helps you understand how things are connected.

So basically the second sentence is "The eggplant has almost no calories but 2/3 of the frying oil is absorbed and disappears".

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