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Using nara なら

clay's picture

There are several ways to express the meaning behind 'if' in Japanese. なら is one of them. It is a conjunction that means 'if the preceding phrase is true, then...'

It may be best to memorize example sentences.

-i Adjectives: Adjective + なら [You can also use の: -i Adj + の + なら]


takai nara, kawanai.

If it is expensive, I won't buy it.


omoshiroi nara, mitai.
If it is interesting, I want to see it.

Verbs: Plain form + なら [You can also use の: Plain form + の + なら]


anata ga iku nara, watashi mo ikimasu.
If you are going, I'll go too.


chokore-to o taberu nara, ha o migakinasai.
If you are going to eat chocolate, brush your teeth.


okane ga aru nara, terebi o kainasai.
If you have money, go ahead and buy a TV.

Also here are a few common usages with nouns:


anata nara, dekiru.
If it is you (doing it), you can do it. (it can be done)


otona nara, sonna koto wa shinai.
An adult wouldn't do such a thing.
(if it is an adult, the adult wouldn't do such a thing.)

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What about 左様なら? Is it the same -nara?

Ongakuka's picture


it is the same なら



It's not -quite- the same なら although ならば is almost the same thing as なら.
In any case, it seems, according to http://gogen-allguide.com/sa/sayounara.html among others, that さようなら is derived from 左様ならば, meaning essentially 'if that's the case then...'. Somehow this ended up becoming a standard 'good-bye', at a complete guess, because it was originally a response to a formulaic observation on it getting late. At some later point, the ば was dropped, and you get the modern 'good-bye'.

This is obscure etymology though, and shouldn't be considered as the actual current grammar of the term. In modern usage, it's just a word that means 'good-bye'.

Thank you!

The audio files are so helpful! 言葉を聞くならうれしくなります!


Do you not need the 'moshi' then


hai when using moshi...nara you are putting emphasis to the sentence
ex moshimo negai hitotsu dake kanau nara kimi no soba de nemurasete - if only one wish was granted let me sleep by your side. the wish being granted is being emphasised and being the main focus.I hope this helps

RayMasaki's picture

kind of

theres sometimes 2 or more words for 1 meaning. like demo - shikashi - tada. i heard it doesn't matter wich ones you use, im not sure of the specifics.


Hi.. where can I find the lesson for " ~ nasai"? Like on the example above...
"kainasai" "shinasai" "migakinasai"

Thank you.. :)

liza ^___~ v

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