Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Japanese Verbs Conditional Forms, ~eba ~ば, ~reba ~れば and ~tara たら form.


Conditional ~ba ば form

This form makes the conditional clause meaning "If", "when" or "in case", and this conditional pattern is called the ~ba-conditional because the conditional form ends with ba.

The ~ba/~eba conditional form is characterized by the final ~u becoming ~eba for godan stem verbs, and ~ru becoming ~reba for yodan stem verbs.

I'm not sure that conditional polite form is well conjugated and if, it's in use at all. When trying to google it, not much pops up. You may need to disregard the polite form below.

Group 1: ~ U ending verbs (godan)

to speak(話) hanaseba はなせ hanasimaseba はなし
to write(書) kakeba かけ kakimaseba かきませ
to listen (聞) kikeba きけ kikimaseba ききませ
to wait(待つ) mateba まて matimaseba まちませ
to drink(飲む)nomimaseba のめませ nomimasimaseba のみましませ

Group 2: ~ Iru and ~ Eru ending verbs (yodan)

to wear (着る) kirebaれば kimasurebaますれば
to see (見る) mirebaれば mimasurebaますれば
to get up (起きる) okireba おきれば okimasureba おきますれば
to get off (降りる) orireba おりれば orimasureba おりますれば
to believe(信じる) shinjireba しんじれば shinjimasureba しんじますれば

Group 3: Irregular Verbs くる (kuru) and ~する (~suru)

to come (来る) kurebaれば  
to do (る) surebaれば  
to study(勉強する)benkyou-suureba べんきょうすれば

Here are few examples:

  • 何すればいいか nani sureba ii ka: "What should I do?" (lit. "It would be good if I did what?")
  • 分かればいい wakareba ii: "As long as you understand" (lit. "If you understand, it is good.")
  • 時間があれば買い物をしよう jikan ga areba, kaimono wo shiyou: "If there's time, let's go shopping."
The ~eba/~reba form is not the only one used to express a conditional in Japanese.

Conditional ~tara たら form

Conditional clauses are also made by the past tense ~ta form with ~ra added: ~tara.

Group 1: ~ U ending verbs (godan)

to speak(話) hanashitara はなしたら hanashimashitara はなししたら
to write(書) kaitara かいたら kakimashitara かきしたら
to listen (聞) kiitara きいたら  kikimashitara ききしたら
to wait(待つ) mattara まったら machimashitara まちしたら
to drink(飲む)nondara のめまししたら nomimashitara のめまししたら

Group 2: ~ Iru and ~ Eru ending verbs (yodan)

to wear (着る) kitara きた kimashitaraしたら
to see (見る) mitara みた mimashitaraしたら
to get up (起きる) okitara おきた okimashitara おきしたら
to get off (降りる) oritara おりた orimashitara おりしたら
to believe(信じる) shinjitara しんじた shinjimashitara しんじしたら

Group 3: Irregular Verbs くる (kuru) and ~する (~suru)

to come (来る) kitara こた  kimashitara きしたら
to do (る) shitara した  shimashitara ししたら
to study(勉強する)benkyou-shitara べんきょうした benkyou-shimashitara べんきょうししたら

The conditional ~ra form can be used in the same way as the conditional ~eba form. However, it can also be used to mean more like "if and when", and it is typically preferred over the eba form when this meaning is more accurate. For example:

  • 日本に行ったら、カメラを買いたい。nihon ni ittara, kamera wo kaitai: "If I go to Japan, then (when that has happened) I want to buy a camera."

The conditional ra form can also be used when the main clause is in the past tense. In such situations, it means "when", and carries the additional implication that the result was unexpected. For example:

  • 喫茶店に行ったら、鈴木さんに出会った。kissaten ni ittara, Suzuki-san ni deatta: "When I went to the cafe, I came across(deatta) Suzuki."


  1. No comments? Thanks for this wonderful lesson, it's easy to understand!

  2. This Is Helpful !!

  3. Thanks for the lesson. I came across the BA-form in a song's lyrics.

  4. Wondering if this sentence is a mistake.
    'to drink(飲む)nomimaseba のめませば nomimasimaseba のみましませば'
    Shouldn't it be 'nomeseba' rather than 'nomimaseba'?

  5. If I understood correctly it should be
    casual form: nomeba / polite form: nomimaseba

    Someone correct me if I am wrong.