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〜たら and 〜えば

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〜たら and 〜えば

Postby hihlordjp » Sat 02.12.2005 8:02 am

Is there a clear set of rules that say when to use one of the two? I believe this grammar question comes second only to the usage of は and が...

If there be none, can anyone give some guidelines for the usage of these forms?
俺様は何時か此の地球の帝王に成るぞ!
...ジョウダンだよ。ヘヘ ^^;;

「君という光が私を見つける // 真夜中に」-- 「光」という歌より(歌手:宇多田ヒカル)
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RE: 〜たら and 〜えば

Postby Omoidebanashi » Tue 02.15.2005 3:55 am

Hmm. My shockingly old grammar book says えば can be used generally in the sense of "when" as well as "if" (somewhat like と, but the relationship between the clauses is less, ah, mechanical), and たら is used with the meaning "if" but implies a more vague possibility. I will happily be proven wrong, though.
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RE: 〜たら and 〜えば

Postby hihlordjp » Wed 02.16.2005 5:18 am

Omoidebanashi wrote:
Hmm. My shockingly old grammar book says えば can be used generally in the sense of "when" as well as "if" (somewhat like と, but the relationship between the clauses is less, ah, mechanical), and たら is used with the meaning "if" but implies a more vague possibility. I will happily be proven wrong, though.


Those are the provisions I speak of. They are somewhere along those lines... I'm of the mind that one is more "certain" than the other.

I think that one means more of "if" and the other means more of "when".
俺様は何時か此の地球の帝王に成るぞ!
...ジョウダンだよ。ヘヘ ^^;;

「君という光が私を見つける // 真夜中に」-- 「光」という歌より(歌手:宇多田ヒカル)
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RE: 〜たら and 〜えば

Postby sampaguita » Fri 02.18.2005 11:05 pm

As far as I know, when speaking about hypothetical possibilities (e.g., If I pass, I will be happy." Something like that.) and you usually start the sentence with "moshimo" or "moshi". -to and -eba are NOT used with hypothetical possibilities.

At least, that's what I know. I'm still learning Japanese by myself, and I don't think I'm at least capable of Level 4, so I'm very much open to corrections.:)
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RE: 〜たら and 〜えば

Postby hihlordjp » Sat 02.19.2005 10:31 am

On a completely unrelated note, sampaguita, are you Filipino?
俺様は何時か此の地球の帝王に成るぞ!
...ジョウダンだよ。ヘヘ ^^;;

「君という光が私を見つける // 真夜中に」-- 「光」という歌より(歌手:宇多田ヒカル)
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RE: 〜たら and 〜えば

Postby Mukade » Sat 02.19.2005 9:16 pm

〜たら/〜ば/〜と/〜なら

These all tend to mean "if." You'll often see them translated as "when," but this is not the kind of "when" that you see in a sentence like: "When I go shopping, I always ride my bike." (in this instance, you would use 〜時) They do have very subtle differences in their meanings, though, so be careful.

In general, 〜たら and 〜ば both have a "if/when X, then Y" meaning. 〜ば, however, has a more absolute, necessary sense than 〜たら.

Another big difference between 〜たら and 〜ば is in their usage in past-tense sentences. When used in the past tense, 〜たら indicates a conditional statement. When 〜ば is used in the past tense, it either indicates past habits, or it gives a sense of "wouldn't it have been nice if..."

Some examples:

東京に行ったら、是非東京タワーを見たいよね。
"If I go to Tokyo, I really want to see Tokyo Tower."
In this sentence, it would be nice if I saw Tokyo Tower, but it's not a written-in-stone, unavoidable consequence of going to Tokyo.

雨が降れば、土がぬれる。
"If it rains, the ground gets wet."
You can't avoid it. If it rains, the ground gets wet, so we use 〜ば.

初めて彼女を会ったら、すぐ恋に落ちた。
"When I met my girlfriend for the first time, I immediately fell in love."
As this sentence is describing a conditional past event, 〜たら is used, but never 〜ば.

Keep in mind, though, that when 〜たら is used like this to represent a past action, the second sentence (here, すぐ恋に落ちた) must be an unforseen or unavoidable response to the situation in the first sentence (here, 初めて彼女を会ったら). Thus, something like "when I drank beer, I got drunk" would not be a legitimate 〜たら sentence.

I've also found that this is a fairly obscure usage. When I use it in conversation with Japanese people, they often contest the correctness of what I've said. I have conferred with several Japanese professors of Japanese linguistics on this, though, and it is correct.


寒くなればよくMr.ドーナツで勉強した。
"When it got cold, I often studied at Mr. Donuts."
Here, 〜ば is used to recall a habitual action that isn't being done anymore (i.e., I used to study at Mr. Donuts when it got cold, but not anymore.).

もっとお金があれば買ったけど。
"If I had had more money, I would have bought it, but..."
Here, you use 〜ば to give that sense of "If only X situation had been like Y."

----------

There are more usages of both 〜たら and 〜ば, and some of them can be quite tricky (a Japanese friend of mine back in grad school actually wrote a paper on the uses of "if" in Japanese so that she could get a better idea of how it is used), but hopefully this brief intro will be enough to help you get a little better idea how and when to use the two.

Let me know if something didn't make sense.
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RE: 〜たら and 〜えば

Postby clay » Sat 02.19.2005 10:54 pm

Well said Mukade!
勉強になる。
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RE: 〜たら and 〜えば

Postby hihlordjp » Sat 02.19.2005 11:51 pm

Mukadeさん、色々ありがとう!

This "if" business must be really complicated if even the Japanese are confusing the various uses.
俺様は何時か此の地球の帝王に成るぞ!
...ジョウダンだよ。ヘヘ ^^;;

「君という光が私を見つける // 真夜中に」-- 「光」という歌より(歌手:宇多田ヒカル)
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RE: 〜たら and 〜えば

Postby clay » Sun 02.20.2005 1:38 pm

one idiomatic use of 〜ば is with よかった。 Mukade hinted at this, but I think this is useful enough to mention:

〜ばよかった (added to verbs)
〜だったらよかった (added to nouns)
I wish I had...

Added to verbs or verbal phrases:

I wish I hadn't eaten so much.
そんなに食べなければよかったのに。(negative -hadN'T so なけらば; のに is added to help show this wasn't the desired outcome)

I wish I lived in a bigger house.
もっと大きいな家に住めばよかった。

Added to nouns:

I wish it were raining.
雨だったらよかった。

I wish I were Superman
スーパーマンだったらよかったのに。


On another note, Yumi didn't think one example was clear and after reading up on the seemingly obscure (I had never seen this usage before!) construction, it seems having some word to emphasize the unforeseen aspect helps. Words like 偶然 (ぐうぜん) or しまった help show the speaker didn't intend on that happening:
初めて彼女に会ったら、すぐ恋に落ちてしまった。 Perhaps this is clearer for non-言語学 experts. :D

Thanks, for pointing out that neat grammar point. So much to learn...
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RE: 〜たら and 〜えば

Postby coco » Sun 06.24.2007 8:09 pm

Mukade-san gave us good explanation of conditinals.
But I am wondering about the past tense explanations.
Am I misreading ?
Mukade wrote:
初めて彼女を会ったら、すぐ恋に落ちた。
"When I met my girlfriend for the first time, I immediately fell in love."
As this sentence is describing a conditional past event, 〜たら is used, but never 〜ば.

Keep in mind, though, that when 〜たら is used like this to represent a past action, the second sentence (here, すぐ恋に落ちた) must be an unforseen or unavoidable response to the situation in the first sentence (here, 初めて彼女を会ったら). Thus, something like "when I drank beer, I got drunk" would not be a legitimate 〜たら sentence.

初めて彼女に会ったときから、すぐに恋に落ちた。would be the sentence. I think.
or 彼女を一目見たら、恋に落ちた。 would work. same as
ビールをたくさん飲んだら、酔っぱらった。
寒くなればよくMr.ドーナツで勉強した。
"When it got cold, I often studied at Mr. Donuts."

寒くなる、よくミスタードーナツで勉強した。
Last edited by coco on Sun 06.24.2007 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: 〜たら and 〜えば

Postby Gundaetiapo » Sun 06.24.2007 8:45 pm

〜ばよかった (added to verbs)
〜だったらよかった (added to nouns)
I wish I had...


Nakama 2 (Chapter 7, section V, part B) talks about the 〜ばよかった construction as well. It doesn't mention 〜だったらよかった for nouns and now that I look at the example sentences they give, they are all with verbs and an い adjective. Is there a reason the nouns don't use a 〜ならばよかった form?
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RE: 〜たら and 〜えば

Postby coco » Sun 06.24.2007 11:30 pm

Gundaetiapo wrote:
Is there a reason the nouns don't use a 〜ならばよかった form?


You can use ならば(よかった) after a noun.

そこに現れたのが、女性[ならば/だったら]よかった(のに)。
せっかくの遠足だから、天気[ならば/だったら]よかった(のに)。

Hope this helps.
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RE: 〜たら and 〜えば

Postby NocturnalOcean » Mon 06.25.2007 3:20 am

wow, a 2 years, and 4 months reviver;)
失敗は成功の元
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RE: 〜たら and 〜えば

Postby Infidel » Mon 06.25.2007 3:44 am

Heh, In this case it's cool because it's completely on topic. Coco was referencing these threads from another thread, so it's all good.
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。
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