Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 8: 8/13

にする
To decide on, To choose, To make something into, To view something as

Sometimes written as とする, which focuses on the result, rather than the process of 'making'

Structure
Casual
Formal
Noun + + する
Noun + + します
Details
Part of Speech Expression
Word Type Verb
Register Standard
品詞 表現
単語の種類 動詞
使用域 一般
Information
にする is a structure that combines the particle (a location/target), with the verb する. It means to ‘make/decide’ something in a certain way. The nuance with にする is that the speaker has direct control over the outcome. This is where the strong feeling of ‘choice’ comes from. The noun that comes before にする is the thing that is being decided.
  • 俺(おれ)ビールにする
    I'm going to decide on this beer.
In this example, although the common translation is ‘to decide’, it is actually much closer to the slang expression ‘to do (A)’ in English. This means that the literal translation is actually ‘I’ll do a beer’, or ‘I’ll make it a beer’.
Sometimes the particle is used instead of に. Although this has the same meaning, it changes the nuance slightly. When is used, it takes away the feeling of being a direct decision. とする tends to be used in more formal situations, but this is only because is less ‘definite’, so results in the phrase sounding less pushy.
  • 今日(きょう)ここまでとする
    Today, I will decide to make this the end. (Why don't we call it a day, if that’s ok)
  • 今日(きょう)ここまでにする
    Today, I will decide to end it here. (I'm going to call it a day)
If you were going to compare these two to an English equivalent, it would be similar to the difference between the following sentences.
- I’ll buy a burger. (A burger is the direct target of ‘buy’)
- I’ll go with a burger. (You aren’t ‘going’ anywhere, it just sounds softer)
This grammar point may be used for more abstract nouns, and does not specifically need to be ‘items’.
  • ハイキングへ行(い)く日曜日(にちようび)にする?
    Is Sunday ok for hiking? (Literally, ‘as for heading hiking, will you make it Sunday?’)
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何(なに)にする
What have you decided on?
[often used when asking if others in your group have picked what they will order]
Play  
今日(きょう)晩(ばん)ごはん何(なに)にする
What have you decided on for today's dinner?
Play  
このかばんにします
To decide on this bag.
[the speaker has decided to buy that bag]
Play  
Books
みんなの日本語 II
Page 120 [CH 44]
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 310
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 129
[AIAIJ] An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
Page 72