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I know that usually, when you talk about someone dying, you say, 'なくなりました' to be polite and, '死にました' to literally just say they died.

So, I was wondering if you could use 死にました for things other than people, such as for animals or plants as なくなりました would probably sound a bit strange?

  • Actually shouldn't it be いなくなりました, as one would be using 居るinstead of 有る when talking about a human? – Chewie Mar 21 '18 at 12:15
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    @Chewie, the verb is 亡くなる, which is an inflection of 亡い which means dead. It is related to the word 無い "nonexistent", but it's its own word. – bcloutier Mar 21 '18 at 12:17
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So, long story short is that you can say that, but it may sound a little unnatural.

The post above references using なくなる, but it does give relevant answers to your question:

For plants: 「枯れる」 - "to wither", for animals: 「死んでしまう」 - "to die/pass away", for people: 「死んでしまう/亡くなる」 - "to die/pass away".

  • The OP's question wasn't about whether you could use 亡くなる but rather about whether you could use 死ぬ for things other than people. – kandyman Mar 21 '18 at 12:37
  • It was, wasn't it? Let me fix that... – bcloutier Mar 21 '18 at 12:38

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