For example:

なるように - So that it will become
なれるように - So that it will become
なるために - So that it will become
なれるために - So that it will become

Well, they all mean the same thing

  • with ため the expression of purpose/intentionality seems very explicit. however your example sentences are so short and without context so it’s hard to say. i think it would be better if you could provide examples with a bit more context and then it would be easier for us to explain why one is better than the other or that both work equally well but with subtle differences in undertones. common expressions like かぜをひかないように or 忘れもののないように would come off maybe a bit bossy with ため. よう here has a soft gentleness about it.
    – A.Ellett
    Oct 14, 2020 at 14:49
  • i know in my comment above i didn't address the issue of potential forms. that's because i think a good place to start her is with the difference between よう and ため. i do also want to add that just because the english translations are the same that does not mean that in japanese the meaning is the same. english just doesn't always pick up these subtleties. this is another reason for why more context could help because then the differences can perhaps be teased out a bit more even in the english.
    – A.Ellett
    Oct 14, 2020 at 18:04
  • ^ common expressions like かぜをひかないように or 忘れもののないように... 「風邪をひかないために(ね)。」「忘れ物のないために(してください・気を付けて)。」とは言いません。bossy だから言わないのではなく、文法が正しくないから言いません。「ように(する)」を使います。
    – Chocolate
    Oct 15, 2020 at 4:49

1 Answer 1


なれる and なる

I think we should first get the difference between なれる and なる figured out. I'm sure you know that なれる is the potential form of なる. Your translation does not capture this very well.

なるように means "so that it will become."
なれるように means "so that it can become."

I think there is a big difference between the two of these phrases. Here are some phrases I pulled from this Chiebukuro post.

I prayed that I could become happy.

I prayed that I would be happy.

There is a big difference between these two sentences. The author of this post notes that the first one means that person prays to god so they can become happy. It implies that they are praying for an environment in which they are capable of becoming happy, but ultimately it is up to themselves to work towards that goal.

The second sentence however, is a straight up wish that god will make them happy. The person who is praying plays no part in that wish.

So, what comes after なれるように might indirectly cause what comes before it while なるように is a direct cause. This is not an absolute rule, but that's what the "can" in "can become" implies.

ために and ように

Note that this is also described in this post. I'll give a shorter version.

The biggest difference between these two is volition (and that ように has a lot more uses). ために expresses that you have control over a situation while ように means you do not. Finally, the agent in the clause before ために and the agent after must be the same. Here's an example:

Leave note so that (I) don't forget.

In this situation, you cannot use ために because you don't control whether you forget something or not. Forgetting is something you don't do on purpose. However, you can leave a note with the intention of making sure you do not forget.

Maybe a more intuitive way to remember this is that ために is similar to "in order to" while ように is closer to "so that".


I'm sorry if this got a little long winded, but the difference between ために and ように is difficult to explain without context. This might be a more suitable translation, but it doesn't really address the nuances.

so that it will become.
in order for it to become.

What really matters is what comes before and after these two phrases. You cannot use ために in a situation where the subject of the sentence does not control the situation.

To explain so that the students understand.
To explain in order for the students to understand. (?)

Although I know this example does not use なる, it expresses the same difference between the two phrases. The second sentence is invalid because the subject in the first clause is 「生徒」 and the subject in the second is the speaker. The two subjects are different. What's more, the speaker does not control whether students understand or not.

I hope this helps.

  • Nice explanation. I was struggling to explain what I sensed about ため and ように but just couldn't place my finger on. Now I get so much better what I was sensing. Thank you.
    – A.Ellett
    Oct 15, 2020 at 3:01

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