At first I learnt いなくなる as the polite version of 死んだ/死んでいる, then I realised it could also be used as a negative version of いる to indicate state of existing/being in a place. Then how do you potentially avoid having, E.g., "if 〇〇 is not around, then what would you do" vs "if 〇〇 is dead, then what would you do" confused?

  • 9
    But the polite version of 死ぬ is 亡くなる. Mar 24, 2018 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


It is nakunatta((亡くなった)) that means died....not inakunatta((いなくなった)). That is a polite way to say "he died"....かれは亡くなりました (nakunarimashita).

1....if your husband was not around, then what would you do? 。。。いなかったら

2....if your husband died, then what would you do?。。。なくなったら

  • Since this answer doesn't actually directly address what it does mean, いなくなる (=いない + なる) actually means become not here, that is it means "to disappear", so "3....if your husband disappeared, then what would you do? 。。。いなくなったら"
    – Foogod
    Nov 22, 2022 at 20:30

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