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  1. 「さて、二人とも。今日来てもらったのは他でもない。ーー宇宙空間を漂っていた先の精霊が<ラタトスク>の手に落ちたことで、彼らの元には累計一〇体もの精霊が集まったことになった」(Date a live, novel)

  2. 家出初日にして、僕は四日分の食費を知らないオッサンのために遣ってしまったことになる。(天気の子, novel)

I know たことになる is used to talk about something counterfactual (反事実) in the sense of “pretend”. https://nihongonosensei.net/?p=8279

But the above two examples I quoted are not 反事実. The context for 1 is that <ラタトスク> has 10 精霊 in fact, and the context for 2 is that the speaker in fact spent a quarter of food expenses on the stranger.

So how should I understand this grammar phenomenon, if these たことになるs can’t express 反事実?

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~たことになる really means "be virtually equivalent with —ing" or "turn out that — in all", which is used when you could never name an actual moment when it did, but the result is just as if it takes place. Thus it is not really relevant to factual or counterfactual, and real or pretend.

This is technically same for ~たことにする, but as する stands for an intentional cognitive operation, it usually implies the agent somewhat admits that it is, at least, not wholeheartedly true.

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  • Thank you! So what would be the difference between ~たことになる and ~ることになる? It seems that they mean the same and ~たことになる is more past than ~ることになる. Mar 28, 2021 at 7:24
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    @chinoalpha The grammar of た in subordinate clauses is that it represents something that has already happened at the point main clause happens (whenever it is). So the event marked with た is always interpreted as an "outcome", which is the key block of this idiom. ~ることになる is more open so sometimes the relative event perhaps means the future version of our one like "expected outcome", but much more often as other including "plan" or "rule". Mar 28, 2021 at 9:39
  • Thank you again. Sorry I didn’t ask my further question properly. I know 〜ることになる can refer to “expected outcome” in the future. But how would 〜たことになる differ from 〜ることになる when both are describing a past outcome/result? For example, if we use 集まることになった and 遣ってしまうことになる, how would the nuance change? I know they would literally mean “ended up with”. I think when referring to past an outcome/result, 〜たことになる involves some mental analysis or thinking, before you find out some fact that wasn’t obvious, while 〜ることになる doesn’t have this nuance but just describes a natural result. Mar 28, 2021 at 13:55
  • @chinoalpha Japanese uses relative time marking, so making the main clause past doesn't affect the subordinate clause. 集まることになった is a situation you want to describe with 集まることになる took place in past, which is like "we were going to meet up". The past counterpart of 集まったことになる is 集まったことになった, which means e.g. "it turned out that we got together". Is this what you wanted to know? Mar 28, 2021 at 14:36
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    @chinoalpha I can't come up with a circumstance 〜ることになる deals with a past result. Do you have an example? Mar 28, 2021 at 14:59

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