In this lesson, you'll get to learn the last Japanese conditional form - たら (tara) sentence.
As you've already learned in the past few lessons, there're many restrictions to use と (to) sentence.
There're also many regulations which you need to fulfill for ば (ba) / なら (nara) sentence if you want to express your will, hope, judgement, permission, prohibition, order, invitation or request, etc.
If you want to state these expressions which involve your intentional actions in the conditional form, you need to use たら (tara) sentence.
So let's check out the sentence patterns of たら (tara) sentence...
|Sentence 1||たら、||Sentence 2|
|Verb た-form||ら、||Sentence 2|
|な-Adj だった||ら、||Sentence 2|
|Noun だった||ら、||Sentence 2|
|Verb ない-form (～
|な-Adj で||なかったら、||Sentence 2|
|Noun で||なかったら、||Sentence 2|
There is another shorter and simple way to show the sentence pattern...
|Sentence 1||たら、||Sentence 2|
|Plain-form Past||ら、||Sentence 2|
Note: For な-Adj and Noun Negative
As explained in the previous lesson, from the grammatical point of view, there are situations that you have to use たら (tara) sentence because of the regulation in Sentence 2. For example...
Example 1 above is incorrect because you cannot have expression of prohibition in Sentence 2 for と (to) sentence.
In Example 2 the subjects of both Sentence 1 and Sentence 2 are the same - あなた (anata - You). The verb 飲む (nomu - drink) in Sentence 1 is an action verb, so you cannot have expression of one's hope, wish, request, permission, prohibition, etc in Sentence 2. Since 運転してはいけません (untenshitewa ikemasen) is a prohibition, this sentence is also incorrect using ば (ba) / なら (nara) sentence.
In this case, you can only use たら (tara) sentence for the conditional sentence.
However, there're situations when you can use all the conditional forms - と (to) sentence, ば (ba) / なら (nara) sentence and たら (tara) sentence. For example...
In Example 1 above, 桜が咲きます (sakura ga sakimasu) in Sentence 2 is not a personal intention, so と (to) sentence can be used.
In Example 2, 春になる (haru ni naru) in Sentence 1 is not an action verb. Hence, the regulation does not apply here. Therefore ば (ba) / なら (nara) sentence is also correct.
And obviously since たら (tara) sentence has no regulation, it's also correct to use it as in Example 3.
Since all the 3 Japanese conditional forms can be used here, it's natural that you'll ask how to decide which one to use? What is the situation that you should use と (to) sentence? What is the situation that you should use ば (ba) / なら (nara) sentence? And what is the situation that you should use たら (tara) sentence?
When you are constructing a sentence using Japanese conditional form, there are 2 aspects that you need to look into.
Firstly, you must look from the grammatical point of view, which means checking the sentence against the rules/regulations. If the sentence doesn't fulfill the regulations like the above example on お酒 (osake) and 運転 (unten), automatically there is no other choice but to use たら (tara) sentence.
However, for a sentence like the above example on 春 (haru) and 桜 (sakura) where you can use all the 3 Japanese conditional forms, which one do you use? In this case, you have to look into the second aspect - the conversational point of view. It means that depending on the type of sentence and the meaning of each sentence, you have to choose the appropriate Japanese conditional form.
It may seem difficult to select based on the conversational aspect, but once you know the requirements, it's quite simple. In fact, you have already learned the requirements to use と (to) sentence previously.
You should remember that in the lesson on Japanese conditional form for と (to) sentence, it's mainly used in the following 4 types of sentences...
Although there are many regulations for using と (to) sentence, it's basically used in the above 4 special cases when you want to emphasize them.
From the conversational point of view, there are basically 2 types of sentences that require you to use ば (ba) / なら (nara) sentence...
Let's say your friend ask you the following question...
Suppose you are not sure about how is the weather tomorrow, so you give your friend 2 suppositions - "if it rains" and "if it doesn't rain". In this case, you can use ば (ba) / なら (nara) sentence.
Since both situations are possible, you are giving 2 opposite suppositions in your answer using ば (ba) / なら (nara) sentence.
Let's look at another example. Suppose you are living in Los Angeles. You are asking your father what is the vacation plan for this coming summer.
You father gives you 2 opposite suppositions - "if he has money" and "if he doesn't have money".
Since these 2 opposite suppositions are both possible, you can use ば (ba) / なら (nara) sentence. If there's only one supposition, you should use たら (tara) sentence.
For this type of sentence, it normally starts with a question. For example, if you want to improve your Japanese and ask your teacher what is the requirement to do that...
どうすれば (dou sureba) in the question is asking "What is required?".
To answer this question, your teacher will most probably reply you the following sentence with the requirement...
Therefore to show requirement, you can use ば (ba) / なら (nara) sentence.
Let's see another example. Suppose you ask your teacher about Spring...
If your teacher wants to tell you the fact about Spring in Japan, she will probably answer you in the following way...
But if you change your question and ask about what is the requirement for cherry blossom to bloom with the following question...
Then your teacher will most likely answer both questions with the following...
In this case, your teacher wants to emphasize the requirement for cherry blossom to bloom, that's why she is using the ば (ba) / なら (nara) sentence.
From the conversational point of view, if the sentence is not the 4 types of と (to) sentence and not the 2 types of ば (ba) / なら (nara) sentence as explained in the above sections, you can use たら (tara) sentence.
So you have to consider the 2 aspects when constructing a conditional sentence - grammatical and conversational. If grammatically the sentence is correct for all 3 conditional forms と (to), ば (ba) / なら (nara) and たら (tara) sentences, then you have to look from the conversational point of view and choose the most appropriate type of sentence to use.
While there is no regulation for たら (tara) sentence grammatically, there is one exception that you need to take note.
For all the 3 Japanese conditional forms you have learned so far, と (to), ば (ba) / なら (nara) and たら (tara) sentences, they all have one common point. It's always the case that after the condition in Sentence 1 is set, then the result in Sentence 2 happens. Time flow is always from Sentence 1 to Sentence 2.
For example, in this sentence 春になると、桜が咲きます。 (haru ni naru to sakura ga sakimasu), Spring has to come first then cherry blossom bloom. In this sentence コートを着たら、寒くありません。 (ko-to wo kitara, samukuarimasen), it's only after you wore the coat then you are not feeling cold.
However, this is not always the case. Sometimes you may want to let the result in Sentence 2 to happen first before the condition in Sentence 1 is set. For example, if you are telling your friend "If you come to my house tomorrow, please call me before coming."
For this example, "電話をする (denwa wo suru)" happens before "coming to my house". In this case, you cannot use たら (tara) sentence. You have to use the following new form...
|Verb Dict-form||なら、||Sentence 2|
Note: This なら (nara) is different from the なら (nara) that you have learned in ば (ba) / なら (nara) sentence. The one you have learned can only be used for な-adj or Noun sentence. This new form "Dict-form なら" is used when you want to show that the result in Sentence 2 happens before Sentence 1.
Therefore using the new form "Dict-form なら", the previous example should be...
If you were to use たら (tara) sentence in the above example...
The above sentence looks weird, isn't it? You friend should call you before coming to your house. But if you use たら (tara) sentence, you are asking him to call you after he has reached your house.
Let's check if you can tell where the speaker will like to study Japanese in the following examples using たら (tara) and Dict-form なら (Dict-form nara) sentences...
Have you got the correct answers?
Depends on the sentence you make, the meaning can be different.
Lesson 24: と (to) Sentence.
Lesson 25: ても (temo) Sentence.
Lesson 26: ば (ba) / なら (nara) Sentence.
Lesson 28: たら (tara) Sentence Special Case.
Lesson 33: たら (tara) Sentence for Discovery.
Top of Page