So that

第154課: ~ように: So That…

In this lesson, we will look at yet another grammatical expression which utilizes the purpose-marking に. This phrase is ~ように, which is composed of the noun よう and the particle に. 様 is a Sino-Japanese noun, but unlike the noun ため we learned about in the previous two lessons, 様 is not ever used in true isolation as a standalone noun—at least not in Modern Standard Japanese.

Overall, ~ように is used to express an expectation or goal that one wishes to realize or hopes will realize if possible. This is similar to ~ために; however, ~ように oppositely implies no volition on the part of the agent of the clause that precedes it.

Orthography Note: The よう in ~ように is only seldom spelled as 様. When it is, it is usually in very formal writing.

Conjugation Recap

First, let’s have a bit of conjugation review. Despite the ambition ~ように following the same grammar as any other nominal expression which follows a verb, because the expression itself is totally different in terms of part of speech from its English counterpart “so that,” we will look at how to conjugate ~ように with each kind of verb. Note that unlike the simile ~ように,  the ambition ~ように is only used with verbs.

 /eru/-Ichidan Verb 見える + ように
 見えない + ように
 So that… can be seen
 So that… cannot be seen
 /iru/-Ichidan Verb 見る + ように
 見ない + ように
 So that… sees
 So that… doesn’t see
 /u/-Godan Verb 買う + ように
 買わない + ように
 So that… buys
 So that… doesn’t buy
 /ku/-Godan Verb 行く + ように
 行かない + ように
 So that… goes
 So that… doesn’t go
 /gu/-Godan Verb 騒ぐ + ように
 騒がない + ように
 So that… makes a fuss
 So that… doesn’t make a fuss
 /su/-Godan Verb 話す + ように
 話さない + ように
 So that… talks
 So that… doesn’t talk
 /tsu/-Godan Verb 立つ + ように
 立たない + ように
 So that… stands
 So that… doesn’t stand
 /nu/-Godan Verb 死ぬ + ように
 死なない + ように
 So that… dies
 So that… doesn’t die
 /bu/-Godan Verb 運ぶ + ように
 運ばない + ように
 So that… carries
 So that… doesn’t carry
 /mu/-Godan Verb 飲む + ように
 飲まない + ように
 So that… drinks
 So that… doesn’t drink
 /ru/-Godan Verb 切る + ように
 切らない + ように
 So that… cuts
 So that… doesn’t cut
 Aru ある + ように
 ない + ように
 So that… there is
 So that… there isn’t
 Suru (Verb) する + ように
 しない + ように
 So that… does
 So that… doesn’t do
 Kuru くる + ように
 こない + ように
 So that… comes
 So that… doesn’t come

Part of Speech Note: Conjugation-wise, ~ように behaves like a nominal phrase, but the purpose-marking に is adverbial in nature. Thus, as a whole, ~ように can be viewed as an adverbial phrase. This contrasts with “so that,” which is treated as a conjunction in English. Even in Japanese, though, the resultant phrase can also be viewed as an adverbial conjunctive phrase.

The Usages of ~ように

Whereas ~ために must be used with verbs of volition to express realizing a stated objective/goal, ~ように must be used with verbs that don’t express volition. In fact, although ~ように is largely used with intransitive verbs, it can be used with transitive verbs so long as those verbs don’t imply willful control over the action by the agent.

Just as was the case with ~ために, the concept of “agent” is very important to understanding how to use ~ように properly. First, know that the base sentence pattern is “A + ~ように + B.” Both “A” and “B” are verbal expressions. Each verbal expression will have an agent. “A” will always be the expectation/goal, and “B” will either be an effort or an exertion of influence. The nature of “B” is determined by who the agent of “A” is and whether it is the same as the one in “B.”

~ように is not particularly complicated to understand, but these factors do add subtleties to its interpretation. For each usage discussed, we will learn about what the “agent” can be for both the “A” clause and the “B” clause, what kind of verbs “A” and “B” can be, and compare usages with each other if necessary.

Grammar Note: Do not confuse this with the volitional form. The volitional form is created with the auxiliary verb ~よう for only a subset of verbs in Japanese, and conjugating with it does not follow the same rules as ~ように.

Usage 1:(目標+努力)

The words 目標 (goal) and 努力 (effort) are very important words to know in understanding ~ように. For Usage 1 of “A + ~ように + B,” A is a goal that the speaker wishes to make possible by some effort expressed by B. This usage normally involves A being a verb in the potential form, negative form, or the potential-negative form. When not specifically used with a potential verb, the verb in question should be an intransitive verb of non-volition.

Translation Note: This usage is most often translated as “so that.”

1. 来年復活らいねんふっかつできるように頑張がんばりたいとおもいます。
I want to do my best so that I can make a come-back next year.

2. 韓国かんこくけるように貯金ちょきんをしています。
I am saving money so that I can go to Korea.

3. (自分じぶんが)自分じぶんであることをいつかほこれるように今日きょう明日あすむねるんだ。
I shall be confident today and tomorrow so that I one day can be proud of being myself.

4. 日本語教師にほんごきょうしになれるように経験けいけんんでいきたいとおもいます。
I’d like to gain experience so that I may become a good Japanese teacher.

5. いちにち{も・でも}はや解決かいけつできるようにやっていきたい。
I’d like (for us) to move forward so that I/we can resolve this as soon as possible.

6. クビにならないよう(に)しっかり仕事しごとおぼえるのがさきだ。
Properly learning the job comes first (so as) to not getting fired.

Grammar Note: Although the person that would potentially fire the agent of B would not be that said individual, the agent of B is the experiencer of A, and A is still a goal that the agent of B would be trying to make sure of.   

Particle Note: Ex. 6 is an example of the agent of A and B being “one,” which is a third-person pronoun and not a first-person pronoun like all the other examples in this section. When this is not used in first person, it is possible to omit the particle に. This omission is commonplace in very formal writing and oration. It is worth noting that when this usage is used in second-person, it brings about Usage 3.

7. よくえるように(からだを)たかげてもらった。
I had myself lifted up so that I could see well.

Grammar Note: In this example, B involves an effort which has someone do something for the speaker, but the experiencer of A and the causer of B is still the same individual, and B is still an action that person does to achieve goal A.

8. 風邪かぜやインフルエンザなどにならないように免疫力めんえきりょくをアップさせることを意識いしきして生活せいかつしていきたいとおもいます。
I want to live while consciously thinking of increasing my immunity so that I don’t get colds or the flu.

Grammar Note: In this sentence, the experiencer of A is the agent of B. Even though the viruses that would cause the speaker to become ill would be the technical agent of A, Japanese does not typically treat non-human things such as this as active agents. Thus, this creates a basis for concluding that if the agent of B is not present in A that A must be the same person as B but as the role of experiencer.

9. ちがようにきみいたい。
I want to meet you so that we may pass by each other.

Grammar Note: In this sentence, the experiencer of A includes another individual, but because one of those experiencers is the agent of B, it is still representative of this grammar.


In the examples above, the agent/experiencer of A and B was limited to “I” and “one.” These examples also demonstrated how this grammar point doesn’t limit A to potential verbs. The one stipulation stated was that A would otherwise need to be a non-volitional intransitive verb. However, there are in fact instances when A is a transitive verb or volitional intransitive verb. When this is the case, though, B is limited to  する by default, creating the grammatical pattern ~ようにする. This phrase is translated as “to try to…” as in putting effort into making some goal a habitual action.  

The thought process behind this is that the volition that would otherwise be wholly expressed by the transitive verb of A is shifted to the verb in B, する. This is the case even when the verb in A also happens to be する.

Particle Note: Ex. 6 presented a case in which the particle に can be omitted after よう, but it is important that you not run with this. This is only true for second-person and third-person in formal writing and speaking and is not applicable to ~ようにする or anything involving ~ように with first person. Although ~ようにする can be used in second-person (in question form) and third-person, ~ようにする is a set phrase in which に is obligatory and should be treated as such.

10. 牛乳ぎゅうにゅうまないようにしています
I am trying not to drink milk.

11. すこしずつ野菜やさいようにしています
I am trying to have vegetables little by little.

12. 銀行口座ぎんこうこうざはまめにチェックするようにしています
As for my bank account, I am trying to check it diligently.

Usage 2: (目標+働きかけ)

The word はたらきかけ means “pressure/encouragement.” The concept of putting pressure on someone becomes very important when the agents of A and B don’t match. When this is the case, the subject will manifest oneself in B, and B will be an action that puts pressure, encourages, and/or expresses hope/anticipation that goal A is realized. The goal of A could be several things. It could be the agent of A becoming able to do something (with potential verbs), doing some action (with transitive verbs or volitional intransitive verbs), or the experiencer of A becoming a certain state (non-volitional intransitive verbs). Regardless of what the goal of A is, B will always involve the subject of B either hoping or doing some action to get that goal realized.  

Translation Note: Potential translations for this usage include “(so) that” and “so as to.”

Grammar Note: In many ways, Usage 2 is no different from Usage 1 except that the agents of A and B don’t match. Putting pressure on someone for A to be fulfilled is in and of itself an effort.

13. 英語えいご文法ぶんぽうかるように先生せんせい使つかって説明せつめいしてくれました。
The teacher explained using pictures so that (they) could understand English grammar.

Sentence Note: The agent of B is “the teacher” and the agent/experiencer of A (understanding) is the implied “they.” 

14. つま無事出産ぶじしゅっさんできるように神様かみさまにおねがいしています。
I’ve asked God that my wife may deliver safely.

15. スマートに会話かいわはじめることができるように自己紹介じこしょうかい使つかわれるフレーズをいくつか紹介しょうかいしてみました。
I tried introducing (to them) several phrases used in self-introductions so that (they) could begin to be able to converse skillfully.

16. 左翼思想さよくしそう人々ひとびとは、再分配さいぶんぱい強化きょうかするように税制ぜいせいえようと主張しゅちょうしている。
Leftists are insistent about changing the tax system so as to reinforce redistribution.

17. 官庁かんちょうは、道路どうろ建設けんせつちかられ、資本家しほんか企業きぎょう保護ほごするように政策せいさく転換てんかんした。
The authorities changed its policy so as to put effort into road construction and protect capitalists and corporations.  

18. 地震等じしんなど振動しんどう転倒てんとうしないよう固定こていする必要ひつようのあるものはかなら固定こていする。
Always secure things that ought to be secured so that they do not fall down due to vibrations caused by earthquakes and such.

Grammar Note: This example, in contrast with Exs. 16 and 17, shows how に is only omissible when the sentence is interpreted as a directive to someone, which was also the case with Ex. 6. These examples all hint at Usage 3, which we are about to come to shortly.  

19. 厚生労働省こうせいろうどうしょうは、インフルエンザと診断しんだんされてからすくなくともふつ日間かかん極力きょくりょくひとにしないよう注意ちゅういするほか、マンションやアパートの場合ばあいまど玄関げんかん施錠せじょうし、ベランダにめんしていない部屋へやかせるようびかけている。また、おおくのひとはやめにワクチンを接種せっしゅできるよう13じゅうさん歳以上さいいじょうひと原則げんそくいっかいだけの接種せっしゅにしてほしいとびかけている。
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is asking that, in addition to being careful not to leave someone diagnosed with influenza alone as much as possible for at least two days, they are also calling that for those in apartment buildings or condominium high-rises have (said individuals) rest in rooms which are not facing verandas. They are also calling for people 13 years or older to limit their vaccination to just once as a rule so that more people can be vaccinated ahead of time.

20. イエレン議長ぎちょうは、自由貿易じゆうぼうえきそこなうことがないよう、トランプ政権せいけん牽制けんせいした。
Chairman Yellen checked the Trump Administration so that they don’t mar free trade.

21. 災害発生時さいがいはっせいじつとさき外出中がいしゅつちゅう家族かぞく安否確認あんぴかくにんをとるために連絡先れんらくさきをみんながわかるようにしていますか?
Do you have your contact information set up so that you know everyone in order to confirm the safety of family at work or out and about for when a natural disaster occurs?

22. 科学工場かがくこうじょう火災かさいなので、職場しょくば仲間なかまにはマスクをしたうえでそとないよう注意ちゅういをした。
With it being a chemical factory fire, I warned my friends at the workplace not to go outside upon having put on masks. 

23. さら努力どりょくしてプレミアムフライデーを定着ていちゃくさせるよう頑張がんばっていきたい。
I want to do my best strive more to have Premium Friday take hold (in society).

Grammar Note: Although A is a causative verb, the agent of A and B is still the main speaker, making it an application of a “goal” being sought for by the effort expressed in B. The causative verb, however, does imply that the goal involves directing people to make it so, thus a grammatical motivation for why に can be omitted here.

24. 子供こどもさわらないようにあぶないものたかいところにようにしています
I’m trying to place dangerous objects high up so that (the) children won’t touch them.

Grammar Note: This example as well as Ex. 25 show that it is possible to have more than one ~ように in a sentence. As for the first instance in Ex. 24, its purpose is to indicate the goal of having children not touch dangerous objects which is achieved by the effort of placing them up high, which is an indirect pressure on said children not to get into such trouble. The purpose of ~ようにしている indicates that this is a pressure the speaker is actively exerting and trying to maintain.

25. はは心配しんぱいをかけない{よう・ため}毎日まいにちはやいえかえようにしている
I am trying to return home quickly every day [so as/in order] not to worry my mother.

Grammar Note: The difference between ~ように and ~ために is that although both indicate fulfilling a certain goal, only ~ために implies complete confidence of that goal being made so. ~ように puts more emphasis on the hope that the goal will be matched, but hope is not a guarantee.

26. 学生がくせいがフェイクニュースにまどわされないようにしようとおもって、調査ちょうさはじめました。
I began an investigation hoping to have students not be misled by fake news.

Grammar Note: This example exemplifies how “effort” and “pressure” are one of the same thing. Do note that the よう in しよう is the auxiliary verb for affirmative volition. Its purpose is to emphasize the will of the speaker to have it so that students aren’t misled.

27. 借金しゃっきんくならないように出来できているものだ。
Debt is made so that it doesn’t go away.

Grammar Note: 出来る, here, means “to be made,” which implicitly suggests an agent who had the goal of making said liability one that wouldn’t go away.


Ex. 27 implies that it is possible to use ~ように in contexts in which goal A has already been achieved. This is no truer than when it is used in ~ようになる, which is intrinsically the non-volitional, intransitive form of ~ようにする. ~ようになる can be after transitive verbs to express a meaning that is close to “to come to.”

28. 毎日まいにちちゃむようになった。
I’ve come to drink tea daily.

~ようになる may also be after potential verbs to mean “to become able to.”

29. やっと理解りかいできるようになった。
I’ve finally become able to comprehend it.

~ようになる may also be after intransitive verbs to mean “to be (made) so that.” In this situation, it isn’t so much so that A is a goal that is already realized, but it may very well be an anticipation that has been borne out.

30. その携帯電話けいたいでんわは、しばらく放置ほうちすると電源でんげんれるようになっている。
That cellphone is made so that it turns off when you leave it idle for a while.

Grammar Note: Like Ex. 27, the agent that would have programmed the phone had しばらく放置すると電源が切れる as a goal, and that success is embodied in ~ようになっている. The use of ~ている suggests that this success is not instantaneous with the statement but has been so. 

Usage 3: Euphemized Command

When ~ように is directed toward someone, it expresses a command that indicates the manner you want the listener (agent) to do in order to achieve goal A. When the verb before ~ように is a transitive verb or volitional intransitive verb, the following effort B doesn’t have to be stated. However, when the verb is a non-volitional intransitive, the effort described by B cannot be omitted as the statement becomes a directive for the state expressed by the verb of A to come true (Ex. 32).   

Grammar Note: This usage may also be interpreted as an application of the simile ~ように’s use of illustrating an example. In the examples below, ~ように is translated as “so that,” which plays emphasis on the interpretation of goal A being carried by effort B. However, “so that” can easily be paraphrased to “in a way that.” Thus, Usage 3 demonstrates that there is in fact overlap between these two different ~ように.

31. せっかく寝付ねついたあかちゃんをこさないように、(しずかにしてよ)。
(Be quiet so that you) don’t wake up the baby who just went to sleep.

Translation Note: When “B” is omitted from this sentence, it can be translated as “Try not to wake up the baby who just went to sleep.”

32. こわさないようにはこんでください。
Please carry it [so that you don’t break/without breaking] it.

33. 普段ふだんから、あやしいもうばなしなどの誘惑ゆうわくらないように行動こうどうするようこころがけましょう。
Let’s keep in mind on a routine basis to conduct ourselves so that we are not yielded to temptation by shady get-rich-quick schemes.

Particle Note: Aside from the second よう having に omitted because of it marking a directive to others, another motivation for why に is omitted here is that it gets rid of grammatical awkwardness that would be felt with two too similar instances of ~ように.

The next three examples show how this usage can also be used when the verb preceding ~ように is in polite speech. Thus, both ~ますよう(に)and  ~ませんよう(に) are possible. However, the use of the auxiliary ~ます is only acceptable when ~ように is used to create a command or to simply express a hope (Usage 5)

34. 今後こんごともよろしくご指導しどうくださいますように(おねがもうげます)。
I ask for your continued guidance going forward.

35. ご確認頂かくにんいただきますよう、おねがいたします。
I ask that you please confirm this.

36. さむつづきますので、お風邪かぜなどしませんよう、ご自愛じあいのほどおねがもうし上げます。
Because cold days continue, please take care of yourself so that you do not catch a cold.

Usage 4: ~ようにと

As an extension of the previous usage of creating euphemized commands regarding manner, ~ように can be optionally followed by the quotation-marking と and then followed by a request verb of some kind. This is largely restricted to transitive verbs or volitional intransitive verbs.

37. 友達ともだち荷物にもつはこぶように(と)たのみました。
I asked my friend to carry [the/my] luggage.

38. 学生がくせいたちに授業じゅぎょう欠席けっせきしないように(と)注意ちゅういしました。
I warned the students not to be absent from class.

39. わたしかれ原稿げんこうように(と)依頼いらいしました。
I requested to him that he write draft/manuscript.

40. かれはみんなに注意ちゅういして運転うんてんするように(と)うながした。
I urged everyone to be careful driving.

41. 花が咲くように(と思って)毎日水をやっている。
I water the flowers daily so that they may bloom.

Grammar Note: Ex. 41 is an example of this being used with a non-volitional verb. When that is the case, と is obligatorily followed by a verb of thought. This puts one’s hope into a mental quotation.

Usage 5: Hope/Prayer

In the same way ~ように can indicate a command to someone so that a goal can be met, when the verb involved is a non-volitional verb and nothing else follows, the resultant phrase solely expresses a hope that that goal is realized. This was hinted at in Ex. 41, but the examples below explicitly show how ~ように without “B” expresses hope. This usage is used extensively when praying and wishing for something to happen.

Typically, this usage is used with the verb preceding ~ように being in polite speech, thus creating ~ますように. If a plain form speech were to be used, then grammar resembling that of Ex. 41 would need to follow. Unsurprisingly, ~ませんように is also possible with this usage.

42. たりますように。
May [I/you] hit (the lottery).

43. 素敵すてき一年いちねんになりますように。
May this be a wonderful year.

44. ずっと一緒いっしょにいられますように。
May we always be together.

45. どうかあやしまれませんように。
May I not be suspected.

46. おつかれのませんように。
May you not become wary (in your endeavors).

Phrase Note: Ex. 47 is the honorific means of expressing 頑張がんばってください to superiors. It is not so ubiquitous among younger speakers, but knowledge of it and proper use of it in the workplace is highly appreciated by older generations among adult speakers.

Variation with Negative Auxiliaries

In conclusion, it’s worth noting that ~ない is not the only form that negation takes and that those other forms can all be used in conjunction with ~ように. Aside from ~ませんよう, there is also ~ぬよう(に), seen most frequently in literature and song as a more poetic variant. There is also ~んよう(に) which is merely dialectical, but to many can give off the impression of a man in his 40s or older. Lastly, ~へんよう(に) is possible in Kansai Dialects.

47. 時節柄じせつがら体調たいちょうくずされませぬようご自愛じあいくださいませ。
The season being what is, please take care of yourself so that you do not upset your health.

48. このおもいがえぬように、ながぼしねがうよ。
I wish to a shooting star so that this hope may not die.

49. おなじような事故じこきんようにしっかりと頑張がんばってほしいな。
I want for them to work firmly so that similar accidents don’t occur.

50. LINEライン通知つうちーへんようにしたよ。
I made it so that LINE notifications don’t show up.

Dialect Note: こーへん = こない in Kansai Dialects.

Curriculum Note: One cliffhanger that remains from this lesson pertains the usages of ~ようになる and ~ようにする which fall outside their definitions presented here due to the simile definition of  ~ように. In Lesson ??? (which will be made within the coming month), we will direct specific attention to ~ようになる and ~ようにする, and in doing so we will learn more about how the simile ~ように and the ambition ~ように are interrelated.