ことになる - Grammar Discussion

English translation:
it will end up being
it is the result of
it has been decided that

Structure:
Verb + ことになる,
いAdj + ことになる,
なAdj + + ことになる,

:warning: “something has been decided” meaning applies only to verbs!

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While showing this grammar point to my Japanese-native tutor, she claimed that several of the sentences didn’t make sense to her.


明日が雨ならば、1週間降り続くことになる

After I explained the meaning in English she said it would have made more sense ending in 続いたことになる 。


インフルエンザにかかってしまったので、今日の大会が出れないことになった

She explained that 出れない normally only takes a human subject, so I should replace が with に to get 今日の大会に出れない


Finally, my tutor also felt that this grammar point covered two very different usages and suggested that the “was decided” meaning acts as a single grammatical unit

ことになる

and tends to be used in the context of a business doing the deciding. (Your example sentences might support this depending on context.)

From example sentences with decided meaning

  • Must return to America (from a business trip?)
  • Attend the meeting
  • Go on a business trip
  • We will move (because of a job?)

On the other end, she felt the “ended up being” meaning is just two separate grammar points working together

(Verb+こと) + (になる)

I’m just learning myself, so I can’t give much more feedback than that, but hopefully your native-Japanese staff can review / weigh in!