JLPT | JLPT N4 | Grammar | Corresponds to Genki II (3rd Edition) Lesson 22 [Buy the textbook here]

~ば/~れば if A then B

■ if A then B; conditional expression

■ Most often used with positive results and therefore often used when giving advice. "If you do this, it will result in something good."

All verbs are actually easy to change into this form. Whether it is Group 1, Group 2, or the irregular verbs, all you have to do is... think in ro-maji. 

I know. Ro-maji is evil, but in this case, it makes it easier. Because, all you have to do is change the final "u" sound into "eba."


■  -u Verbs: Change the "u" to "e" + ば
Example: (はな) hanasu hanase + ば(はな) (if someone talks)

  -ru Verbs: stem + Change the "u" to "e" + ば
Example: () taberu () tabere ()れば tabereba (if someone eats)

■  irregular verbs: stem + Change the "u" to "e" + ば
(to do) → すれば (if someone does)
(to come) → くれば (if someone comes)


■  -i Adjectives: stem (minus the final い) + ければ
Example: (ちい)(ちい)さ + ければ(ちい)ければ

■  -na Adjectives & Nouns: -na Adjective (without the -na) or Noun + なら(ば) or であれば
-na Adjective Example: (しず)ならば (if quiet) or (しず)であれば (if quiet)
Noun Example: (くるま)ならば (if car) or (くるま)であれば (if car)


■  -u Verbs: stem + Change the "u" to "eba"

(はな)す → (はな)せば (if someone speaks)

()く → ()けば (if (someone) goes)

()む → ()めば (if someone reads)

()べる → ()べれば (if someone eats)

()める → ()めれば (if someone drinks)

()る → ()れば (if someone sleeps)

■ irregular verbs: stem + Change the "u" to "eba"

する → すれば (if someone does)

くる → くれば (if someone comes)

■  -i Adjectives:

(ちい)さい → (ちい)さければ (if small)

(おお)きい → (おお)きければ (if large)

(いそが)しい → (いそが)しければ (if busy)

■  -na Adjectives & Nouns

(しず)かな → (しず)かならば (if quiet) or (しず)かであれば (if quiet)

(くるま) → (くるま)ならば (if car) or (くるま)であれば (if car)


In the "Aば B" sentence: 

  • The first part (A) defines the condition (IF you do this...) 
  • And the B part gives the results or consequences (then this will happen)

This format is often used when giving advice. IF you do this, something good will RESULT.


read | if | understand
If you read (it), (you'll) understand.

Vocabulary & Notes


car | by | to go | if | fast

If you go by car, it's fast.

Vocabulary & Notes


tomorrow | weather | if good | ocean | to | let's go

If the weather is good tomorrow, let's go to the beach!

Vocabulary & Notes


medicine | (direct object marker) | drink | if | heal

If you take the medicine, you'll get better.

Vocabulary & Notes


The negative "if" is even easier. For verbs, you just make the negative plain form, drop the final い and add ければ

Negative Verb Stem minus the い:


+ ければ

 (if not eat)

-i Adjective  + く


+ ければ

 (if not hot)

-na Adjective / Nouns +


+ なければ

 (if not a Japanese person)


teacher | to | ask | if not | won't understand
If you don't ask the teacher, you won't  understand.

Vocabulary & Notes


study | if don't | test | to | fail (fall)
If you don't study, you'll fail the test.

Vocabulary & Notes


good | weather | if not | picnic | can't go
If the weather isn't good, we can't go on a picnic.

Vocabulary & Notes


■  This grammar point may be difficult to remember at first, but if you memorize a few examples from each group and try to use them in conversation, it will eventually become second nature to you.

■  For -na adjectives and nouns, the final ば is often omitted: (しず)かなら (if quiet) or 電車(でんしゃ)なら (if a train)

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