I'm having trouble understanding this grammar. Could someone please help?


Taken from the sentence:


  • 7
    Your example "本を読めるようになるだけではなくて" does not look like a complete sentence. It looks like only part of a sentence unless it is colloquialism. If it is part of a sentence, please consider adding a complete sentence. – Tsuyoshi Ito Aug 29 '12 at 8:52

Breaking this apart a bit:

So, (assuming there is something after だけではなくて and it's not a complete sentence), from there I think you can come up with:

Not only will (you) become able to read [a book/books], ...

The way I understand よう is it means "state"/"situation"/"form"/"way", and is usually written in Hiragana though can be written with the Kanji 様{よう}. So for example:

  • ~ようになる can mean "become into the state of...":

    Will NGOs gain greater influence?
    (lit. "Will NGOs become into the state of having greater influence?")

  • ~できるようになる can mean "become into the state of being able to..." or "become able to..."/"come to be able to..." etc:

    You will be able to play tennis better soon.
    (lit. "You will soon become into the state of being able to do tennis more skillfully")

  • ~ように (often at the end of a sentence etc) can mean "towards the state/situation of..." or "may you..." etc, this is used for hoping or wishing for something:

    May misfortune befall you!
    (lit. "Towards the state/situation of misfortune befalling you!")

  • XようにY can mean "to go towards a state/situation of X, Y" or "X in order to Y":

    In order to not be late, (I/he/she etc) left the house.
    (lit. "To not go towards a state/situation of being late, (I/he/she etc) left the house")

  • XのようなY can mean "Y that's of a similar state/form to X", "Y that's like X":

    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
    (lit. "Life is a thing that's of a similar state/form to a bicycle. ...")

  • よう as in どのよう "how"/"what way" etc can also mean "way"

There are probably some other usages too.

Edit: tried to expand on the different usages of よう.

  • Thank you for those flushed out answer. By breaking the sentence up I think I understand it now. – jerkytheturkey Jan 19 '14 at 0:41

I think you have to break it down:

本を読めるようになる = so that [I] was able to read [the book/books/a book]

AだけではなくてB = not just A(but also)B....

=> Not just so that I could read books (but also)...

BTW: Just in case this wording sounds awkward, you have asked about a phrase not a complete sentence. The exact wording in English will depend on the rest of the sentence and the full context not provided, eg:

  • Is this a specific book or books in general (see comments below)?
  • The inclusion of なる (as per comments) suggests the latter(?)
  • I assumed the subject was I but it could be 2nd person/more general
  • I have used "just" which felt natural but "only" is perhaps technically a more precise word

Supplementary grammar note: ために is often translated as "in order to", ように is often translated as "so that". The main difference b/w the two is that ために is generally used for actions that can be controlled by the subject, ように is typically used for verbs in potl form, -ve form or stative verbs such as 分かる. Compare the following two sentences



  • 2
    I thought 'in order to be able to read the book' would be 本を読めるために and 本を読めるようになる would mean 'to acquire the ability to read the book' – taylor Aug 29 '12 at 15:18
  • @taylor: see my supplementary grammar note. Changed "in order to" to "so that" to avoid confusion. – Tim Aug 29 '12 at 16:24
  • 1
    Wouldn't "Not just so that I could read the book" be 本を読めるようにだけではなくて ? With the なる present, I prefer the other (for some reason deleted) answer's interpretation of: "Not only will (you) become able to read [a book/books], ..." – Hyperworm Aug 29 '12 at 17:16
  • 1
    @Hyperworm The translation here was originally written as "Not just in order to (be able to) read the book". I think I maybe would have written it as "Not just to become able to read [a book/books]", but I thought that assuming that it was a (lone colloquial) sentence as written in the question rather than having something after だけではなくて, it was a better translation than mine. – cypher Aug 29 '12 at 22:09
  • 1
    I originally wrote a quick answer to what I saw as a quick question. But, these are all fair points - not least the importance of being open to the context, which was not given. The OP does not explain what it is they don't understand. (FWIW, I thought it was probably だけではなくて because use of だけ is quite wide but taylor picked up on ように) For completeness, I'll try to incorporate your comments to my answer. Thanks – Tim Aug 30 '12 at 0:11

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