Today it crossed my mind how I could translate this, and some confusion arose with the verbal forms to use.

If I wanted to say "I got cold", I would say


However, for "I'm getting cold", I would use


That left me wondering what would 寒くなる mean, as I would also translate this has "I'm getting cold".

Is there no difference between these in English? If not, what would be the difference in their meaning?

Side note: I omitted the わたし bit in the sentences before since I'm only interested in the conjugations.


Actually, because なる is a change of state verb,「寒くなっています」does not mean "it is getting cold", but rather "it is cold"- or more specifically, that it got cold and remains in that state.

Any verb that signifies a change in state used with ~ている means that the change happened in the past and remains in that state. That is why, for example, 「死んでいる」 means "is dead", not "is dying".

To properly say that it is getting cold, I would use the -てくる pattern. Thus, my translation would be:

It's getting cold.

You can use -てくる with a change in state verb (なる in this case) to show that something has been gradually changing until now. A more in-depth explanation on this can be found here.


寒くなる literally translated is "to become cold". It can be used to signify future tense:

寒くなるだろう - "It will probably get cold"

and can be used in conjunction with such words as くらい and ほど to signify that something is so x that it will become cold:

雲が寒くなるほど多いですね。- "there are so many clouds that it could become cold"


寒くなっている Is what is happening right now. So you're becoming cold right now. 寒くなる would be to become cold. Or you will become cold.

That being said, Japanese people don't really add the なる at the end when expressing this. When they're cold they just say 寒いよ

  • Just to clarify: they would use 寒いよ to say that they are cold, but still use 寒くなっている to say that they're becoming colder? – Jak Feb 21 at 9:11
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    寒くなっている means something already became cold and is still cold now... – Leebo Feb 21 at 9:15
  • I could be wrong, but I understand it as roughly 寒いね = It's cold right, 寒くなる = It's gonna be cold, 寒くなっている = it's been getting cold (and it's likely to get even colder), 寒くなった = it got cold (but i'm not implying it will get even colder) – Felipe Oliveira Feb 21 at 14:39

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