760 - ともなると

JLPT N1: ともなると (once you become; once you get to the position/level of)

We use ともなると to describe what happens when a certain level or position is reached.

For example, let's say that we're talking about reaching the position of being a "working adult" or "full-fledged member of society" — 社会人 (しゃかいじん). When you reach this position, your life necessarily changes:


社会人ともなると、学生の時のように遊んでばかりいるわけにはいかなくなる。
しゃかいじん ともなると、 がくせい の とき の ように あそんで ばかり いる わけにはいかなく なる。
Once you become an adult, you can’t just have fun all the time like when you were a student.
Literally: “working adult / full-fledged member of society + ともなると, + student + の + time + の + like (=ように) + just having fun (=play [and] + only + are [doing]) + can’t exactly do + becomes.”


So we have:

NOUN (denoting position or level reached)

ともなると

[phrase about what happens at this position or level]


ともなると is used when reaching a more advanced level or position:


1国のトップともなると、私生活でも制限が多くて大変だろう。
いっこく の トップ ともなると、 しせいかつ で も せいげん が おおくて たいへん だろう。
When you become the leader of a country, there are also a lot of restrictions to your personal life. It must be tough.
Literally: “one country + の + top + ともなると, + private life + でも + restriction / limit + が + many (and) + tough / difficult + だろう.”


As such, when we are talking about reaching a level or position that is notadvanced, it would sound a bit odd to use:


子供ともなると、生意気なことを言ったりもする。
✕ こども ともなると、 なまいきな こと を いったり も する。
✕ Once you become a child, you start saying cheeky things.
✕ Literally: “child + ともなると, + impertinent / cheeky / brazen + thing + を + things like saying + も + do.”


This is not to say that something like being a child cannot be considered an advanced level or position.

In certain contexts, it could work with ともなると


1、2歳の子供は素直で可愛いが、4、5歳の子供ともなると生意気なことを言ったりもする。
いち、に さい の こども は すなお で かわいい が、 し、ご さい の こども ともなると なまいきな こと を いったり も する。
One- and two-year-old kids are obedient and cute, but when they become four- and five-year-old kids, they also start saying cheeky stuff.
Literally: “one, + two years old + の + child + は + obedient / docile + で + cute + but, + four + five years old + の + child + ともなると + impertinent / cheeky / brazen + thing + を + things like saying + も + do.”


You may also come across ともなれば.

This has the same meaning and usage as ともなると


大学4年生ともなれば勉強だけでなく、将来のことも考えなければいけない。
だいがく よねんせい ともなれば べんきょう だけ でなく、 しょうらい の こと も かんがえなければいけない。
Once you become a fourth-year college student, aside from your studies, you also have to think about your future.
Literally: “university + fourth-year student + ともなれば + studies + not only (=だけでなく), + future + の + thing + も + have to think about.”


メジャーリーガーともなれば、専属シェフの一人や二人はいるのだろう。
メジャーリーガー ともなれば、 せんぞく シェフ の ひとり や ふたり は いる のだろう。
Some people in the major leagues probably even have one or two of their own personal chefs.
Literally: “major league player + ともなれば, + exclusive / personal + chef + の + one person + や + two people + は + there are + の + だろう.”
Note: See how the sentence is actually saying "major leaguer?" Adding (a Japanese pronunciation of) an -er suffix to the end of words is quite common in Japanese.


Last but not least, note that we don't necessarily need to be talking about a person reaching an advanced level or stage.

For example, it would not be strange to say:


8月ともなると、冷房なしで過ごすのには無理がある。
はちがつ ともなると、 れいぼう なしで すごす のに は むり が ある。
Once it gets to August, it’s not really feasible to live without using the AC anymore.
Literally: “August + ともなると, + air conditioning + without + living / passing (the time) + のに + は + impossibility + が + there is.”


For some reason, none of the grammar books we consulted when preparing to write this lesson had examples that are not using people. But, yeah, you don't necessarily have to be talking about people when using ともなると.


レッスン終了
レッスン しゅうりょう
Lesson Finished