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その悪夢が現実化した。
The nightmare became a reality.

This sentence sounds to me like the nightmare has animacy. It is realising itself, where 'itself' is the implied object of する. It all sounds rather sinister.

Presumably, this is actually a perfectly normal sentence, but if I were to make my own translation I would have said:

その悪夢が現実になった。

Is this correct? Does it have a different feel when compared to the original sentence? What difference does the 化 make in 現実化?

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悪夢が現実化した and 悪夢が現実になった mean the same thing, although the latter is more common. 悪夢が現実なった is also common. I feel 現実化 (realization) is typically used with a good invention. (BTW, 実現 is almost always used with desirable things, so 悪夢が実現した sounds like someone was intentionally hoping for a calamity.)

Suru-verbs are intransitive, transitive, or both, depending on the word. 現実化 works as both. It just means "to become a reality" when used intransitively.

悪夢現実化した is also grammatical, but this of course means someone intentionally materialized a nightmare.

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  • Interesting, thanks. I hadn't realised that 実現 / 現実化 had a positive feeling. So both the sentences are actually quite weird then? What would be a more neutral word? Apr 21 at 18:38
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    @user3856370 Do you understand 実現 and 現実 are different words? 悪夢が現実となった is perfectly fine but 悪夢が実現した sounds like it's said by an evil god. 悪夢が現実化した is correct but less common.
    – naruto
    Apr 21 at 23:09
  • Ah, sorry. I'd completely failed to notice the difference. My eyes saw 実現 and my brain saw 現実. Apr 22 at 21:36
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I think 現実化する is 他動詞,so correct sentence would be

その悪夢現実化した

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