386 - ことにする

So... I may be a little late to say this, but happy new year everyone!

Then again, 'being more punctual' was not on my new year's resolution list, so I guess I'm good.

Speaking of new year resolutions though, I think it's safe to say that everyone has broken theirs by now...

...so come on and join the procrastinators anonymous group. Don't worry, you don't have to do much, most meetings are adjourned by default because nobody shows up. Ever.

Now, I beg your pardon, I tend to get a little ahead of myself when it comes to motivational speeches.

Allow me to introduce you to the phrase for expressing resolutions in Japanese.

That will be..

ことにする
こと に する
make up one's mind to
Literally: "thing + に + make / do"

You use it to express that you have decided on a certain action.


For example...

環境のために、これからはエコバッグを使うことにしよう
かんきょう の ため に、 これから は エコバッグ を つかう ことにしよう。
For the sake of the environment, I think I'll use eco bags from now on.
Literally: "environment + の + sake + に, from now on + は + eco bag + を + use + (let's) make it so that."

If you think about it, これから is actually made up of two words...

これから
これ から ⇐ (although grammar-nazilly speaking it's a single word so you wouldn't split it)
from now on
Literally: "this + from"

So it's easier to remember if you think about it like from this point on, right?


新幹線は高いので、夜行バスで行くことにしました
しんかんせん は たかい ので、 やこうバス で いく ことにしました。
The bullet train is expensive, so I decided to take the night bus.
Literally: "bullet train + は + expensive + because (=ので) + night bus + で + go + decided to"


Some notes about ~ことにする.

As it has no universally applicable translation, you will notice that it is either translated as "decided to" or "made it so that" or in other ways depending on the sentence.

Also, please remember these 2 simple rules.

1. This expression is always preceded by a verb. Always.

2. The verb is always in plain form (positive or negative).

V ることにする
V ないことにする


Onto the next sentence:

A:
今日からベジタリアンになることにした
きょう から ベジタリアン に なる ことにした!
Starting today, I decided to become a vegetarian!
Literally: "today + from + vegetarian + に + become + decided to!"

B:
へえ、なんかあったの?
へえ、 なんか あった の?
Whaa, did something happen?
Literally: "whaa, + something + happened + の?"

On a side note, this reminds me of how I wanted to become a vegetarian when I was in middle school... rewind back to a tragicomic episode where my mom had me pluck some remaining feathers off... the soon to be chicken soup.

I was standing alone in the kitchen sobbing uncontrollably while gently caressing and apologizing to the very dead and very naked chicken. Just picture it for a moment. It's just too funny when I think of it.

Anyway, it was then when I finally had the revelation that "well, this is life", you have to eat to survive, there's just no way around it. I soon returned to eating meat. I couldn't have lived without Cheeseburgers anyway.


But speaking of life, let's see another example:

人生は一度きりなのだから、欲しいものややりたいことは一切我慢しないことにしました
じんせい は いちどきり なのだから、 ほしい もの や やりたい こと は いっさい がまん しない ことにしました。
You only live once, so I decided never to refrain from things I want to do or have.
Literally: "life + は + only once + so + want + things + and + want to do + things + は + never + resist/refrain from + not do + decided to"

...Yes, yes, for all the teens who wanted to know how to say YOLO (..ugh) in Japanese, here you go:

人生は一度きり
じんせい は いちどきり
You only live once
Literally: "life + は + only once


Now, just one more example:

もう試験は終わったので、結果が出るまでそのことは考えないことにした
もう しけん は おわった ので、 けっか が でる まで その こと は かんがえない ことにした。
The exam is finally over, I decided not to think about it anymore until the results are out.
Literally: "finally + exam + は + finished + so + results + が + come out + until + about that + not think + decided."


So, happy new year again to everyone, I wish you the motivation to stick to your resolutions, but I also wish that you don't blame yourself too much if you don't.

See you next time!


This lesson was written by Adriana, a guest contributor.





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