Nihongo - Let's Learn Grammar

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  • 公開済み: 21 8 2013
  • アップデートされたもの: 14 7 2015
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This movella teaches you straightforward the grammar of Japanese. From 助詞 to 動詞, you will be able to get a complete and organised movella that includes all major particles and essential grammatical usages to make cool Japanese sentences! 行きましょうね!


17. If, If, If, and If

In English, it's quite easy to make a hypothetical situation, or any kind of situation.


• If you punch a wall, your hand will hurt.

• If you go to Japan, bring me back a souvenir.

• If I were a girl, would you go out with me?


They all seem pretty nice and straightforward, huh?


Japanese... Not so much.




The "If" that uses と indicates obvious results. If you punch a wall, your hand will hurt. To use this version of "If," simply place it at the end of the verb. For nouns, you will need the explicit だ. You cannot use です because です does not state an explicit. You can use だ for this type of "If" because it's a definite result.


壁 【かべ】= Wall

手 【て】= Hand

打つ 【う・つ】= To hit

痛い 【いた・い】= Painful

なる = To become


• 壁を打つ、手が痛くなります。= If you hit a wall, your hand will hurt.

Keep in mind that this version of "If" cannot be used when something already happened. It needs to be something that occurs whenever it happens or is.


X 壁を打ったと・・・ = (Not translatable)



This "If" has no strings attached. You can use it when you want to state a hypothetical situation. A hypothetical situation is, as the word hints, a hypothesis. In science class, you make a hypothesis before you begin your experiment, right? "If [cause], then [effect]." This is exactly what ば does.


ば is quite tricky to attach to nouns, adjectives and verbs, so pay attention here. Use the vocabulary listing below to use this section.

• Nouns

Simply attach であれば to the noun directly.

映画 + であれば → 映画であれ If it were a movie, (then)...


• Adjectives

い-adjectives, Drop the い and attach ければ to the adjective.

大きい → 大き + ければ → 大きけれ = If it were big, (then)...

☆ (な-adjectives are the same construction as nouns!)

きれい + であれば → きれいであれば = If it were nice/pretty, (then)...


• Verbs

Change the kana to its え-vowel and attach ば.

う-verb ある → あれ + ば → あれば = If there were, (then)...

る-verb 食べる → 食べれ + ば → 食べれば = If I could eat, (then)...


お金 【お・かね】= Money

大きい 【おお・きい】= Big

テレビ = Television/TV

ある = (Existence for inanimate objects)

よく = Often

映画 【えい・が】= Movie

行く 【い・く】= To go

食べる 【た・べる】= To eat

おいしい = Delicious


• お金があれば、大きいテレビを買います。= If I had the money, (then) I'd buy a big TV.

• お金があれば、映画によく行きます。= If I had money, (then) I'd go to the movies often.

• おいしければ、食べます。= If it were good, (then) I'll eat it.


Before I continue, I want you to notice something. For all nouns, adjectives and verbs that use this type of "If" indicate what is called the potential outcome. The reason you change verb endings, for example, into れ is because a verb ending with れ is its potential form, the ability to do the verb. This applies to all other parts of speech.



This "If" is the same as ば, as there are no strings attached to the occurrence. This is probably the only "If" that has a "When" connotation. However, that does not mean they're interchangeable. You use ら when you are stating when something happens, then this may happen. This does sound like ば, but what makes ば different is that ら emphasises what the result is more than just the cause that triggers the result. ば focuses on the cause, whilst ら focuses on the result. You can figure this out because all forms of this type of "If" are speaking in the past tense, which means we are now focusing on what happens after the "If."


ら is tricky, just like ば, so please pay attention.

• Nouns

Attach the past tense of です or だ and place ら after it:

暇 + だった → 暇だった + ら → 暇だった = If I am free...

暇 + でした → 暇でした + ら → 暇でした = If I am free...


• Adjectives

い-adjectives, change to past tense and add ら:

大きい → 大きかった + ら → 大きかった = If it's big...

☆ (な-adjectives are the same constructions as nouns!)

きれい + だった → きれいだった + ら → きれいだった = If it's pretty/nice...

きれい + でした → きれいでした + ら → きれいでした = If it's pretty/nice...


• Verbs

Change to the plain past tense and add ら:

食べる → 食べた + ら → 食べた = If I eat...

You could use the complete past tense, but not very many people speak that way. The plain past tense is easier to hear and faster to say.

読みましたら = If I read... (Too much to say...)

読んだら = If I read... (Much better!)


宿題 【しゅく・だい】= Homework

する = To do (General execution)

外 【そと】= Outside

読む 【よ・む】= To read

本 【ほん】= Book

静か 【しず・か】= Quiet

遊ぶ 【あそ・ぶ】= To play

暇 【ひま】= Free (as in, free time)

学校 【がっ・こう】= School

始まる 【はじ・まる】= To begin

好き合う 【す・き・あ・う】= To go on a date

彼女 【かの・じょ】= She/Her


• 宿題をした、外に遊べます。= If/When I finish my homework, I can play outside.

• 学校が始まった、彼女は好き合うかも。= If/When school starts, she'll probably ask me out.

• 暇だった、遊びます。= If/When I'm free, I'll play.

• 本を読んだ、静かにしてはいいですね。= If/When I read my book, please be quiet.




This type of "If" is like the kind of "If" when we say, "If that's the case," in English, the subjunctive clause. We are giving a particular occurrence an expectation. Should it ever occur, then this will happen. There are no rules to follow to use this type of "If." Just place it at the end of the clause. For nouns and な-adjectives, you cannot use だ. We are implying something; therefore, we cannot explicitly state it.


泳ぐ 【およ・ぐ】= To swim

水着 【みず・ぎ】= Bathers

ボーイフレンド = Boyfriend

きれい = Pretty/Nice

早速 【さっ・そく】= Immediately

寂しい 【さび・しい】= Lonely

財布 【さい・ふ】= Wallet

忘れる 【わす・れる】= To forget

要る 【い・る】= To need/require

私 【わたし】= I/Me

来る 【く・る】= To come

なる = To become


• 泳ぐなら、水着が要ります。= If I (were to) go swimming, I'd need my bathers.

• ボーイフレンドなら、寂しくなりません。= If he were my boyfriend, I wouldn't be lonely.

• きれいなら、早速買います。= If it were pretty, I'd buy it right away.

• 私と来るなら、お財布を忘れなくてはいいですね。= If you're coming with me, bring your wallet.



And those are how you use "If" in Japanese! I know, it can be quite overwhelming, but keep practising and you will be able to distinguish and use each type of "If" with ease. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment about anything you may want to discuss! 頑張って!

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