sci.lang.japan FAQ / 2. Grammar / 2.3. Particles (助詞)

2.3.5. What is the difference between to naru and ni naru?

The two ending forms to naru and ni naru are very similar, but there is a small difference in meaning. となる implies change to a final state, but になる implies going towards that state. All となる can be になる, but some になる cannot be となる. For example,
にぎやかになる, "become lively",
or
ばかになる, "become stupid",
can't really change to にぎやかなる or ばかなる, because となる implies a final state.

sci.lang.japan FAQ / 2. Grammar / 2.3. Particles (助詞)

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