When to use potential verbs with ようにする

Is there any specific pattern to follow with this?
For example:

  • 「毎日野菜を食べるようにしないといけない」
  • 「予約を間に合えるようにしましょう」
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Is the second one something you saw? My impression was that before the ようにする grammar point that means “to try to” “to be sure to” the verb should be in the dictionary form or negative form.


Yeah. I also put 「学年末までにパイロット免許を得るように色々なことをしています」on HiNative and someone said 「得られるように」was more natural.

The thing is there are multiple ように grammar points. So it kind of needs to be clarified which one you’re trying to use.

Multiple sentences could contain ように and する without being the same grammar point.

Native Japanese people who haven’t studied how to teach grammar may not be the best to ask for help on a specific grammar point, since they are just going to change it to anything grammatical that they think is what you wanted to say. In other words, yes you may end up with a natural sentence but maybe you won’t learn more about the grammar point you originally intended to focus on.

Do you have something like one of the Dictionaries of Japanese Grammar?

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Yes. Although I got the first 2 examples from Bunpro, which lists them as the same grammar point with no real explanation on why one used passive form

I see. I don’t currently have one of my reference books in front of me, so I can’t dig into the details. Tonight I’ll take a look, but someone else could probably do that in the meantime as well.

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Alright. I’ll look around for some more sources!

Well. Guess I’m not needed here.

Which one used the passive form?

I think that was just a typo and they meant potential.

Sorry, my bad. I meant potential.

I came across this the other day which is a nice comparison of similar grammar points.
At the bottom of the ② ~ようにする section is the form…


Unfortunately no explanation in using different preceding verb forms. May still be useful thought.

From what I have gathered, in regards to your question, there are two different constructions, one is 辞書形/ナイ(無意志)+ように、and the other is 辞書形/ナイ(意志)+ようにする. The first is used to express actions being taken to bring about a goal/target (i.e. do something such that …) and the second is more to express a habitual action/effort or intention, or cause a change for a specific purpose (i.e. make sure to do something, habit of doing ~ etc. ).

For the first construction, before ように you have a non-volitional verb (Potential forms、わかる、見える、なる etc.) except if the subject is third person - e.g. 子供が本を読むように面白そうな本を買った。

The first case would be your example 「学年末までにパイロット免許を得られるように色々なことをしています」. In this situation, you are trying to do various things such that you are able to get your pilots license by the end of the school term, so the potential with ように is appropriate.

The key for the first construction is X Verb 1 ように Y Verb 2. So X is a goal/wish (Verb before ように normally non-volitional (i.e. you can use potential forms), Y is an action taken, and you have an ending volitional verb.

The second construction would be the first example in your post [毎日野菜を食べるようにしないといけない]

In this case the sentence is to make a habit of each day eating vegetables so the second ように construction is appropriate [therefore volitional verb before ように and no potential form].

The second example, [予約を間に合えるようにしましょう]; I believe it should be [予約を間に合うようにしましょう]; 間に合う does not normally have a potential form - I would check with a native speaker.

I would take a look at this site https://jn1et.com/kyouan36/ ; it has a fairly detailed explanation, or you can look in the DBJG ように section.


ありがとうございます、手伝ってくれて。This has all been very helpful

Oh ok, I’ve seen ようにする used with the passive so I thought you had a question on that as well.

Yeah, as Leebo pointed out, this is actually a different grammar point. In the 「学年末までにパイロット免許を得るように色々なことをしています」example you cited, that ように is the type of ように that is similar to ために, “for the sake of”/“in order to”, etc. The native speaker changed it to 得られるように so that the sentence would mean “In order to be able to obtain a pilot’s license, I am doing various things until the end of the school year.”


~ようにする = “to try to”
~ように = “in order to” (the する in that sentence is unrelated to the ように grammar point)


Really good explanation!

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