How to use ば ( = ba)

いつも笑っていれ幸せになるよ!」

= Itsumo waratte ireba shiawase ni naru yo!

= If you always smile, you will be happy!


Hi everyone!

Today’s guest teacher is my good friend, Papi. 

He is the sweetest dog I have ever met. 

I’ve made a lesson on these conditional forms in past.

* なら ( = nara) 

* ( = to)  

* たら ( = tara) 

BUT many of you asked me to make a lesson on how to use the other conditional form: ( = ba).

I’ve been working on this lesson for over a year! To be honest, I was kind of procrastinating because I knew it would be a long one!

Now Papi-sensei will give me a “paw” to help finish this lesson. Take it away, Papi-sensei!

*****

みなさん、はじめまして!パピです。

= Minasan, hajimemashite! Papi desu.

= Nice to meet you, everyone! I’m Papi.

I am the happiest dog because I know the trick of life. Just smile! 

Yes, this is going to be another long lesson so get ready!

 !star! How to form:

verb:

dictionary form

* 行く = いく=  iku = to go

1) delete the last “u” and change it with “e”. 

iku → ik + e 

行け =いけ=  ike

2) add ( = ba)

行け = いけ = ikeba

**

Got it?

* 話す= はなす = hanasu = to talk

→e sound: 話せ = はなせ = hanase

→+ ( = ba) : 話せ = はなせ = hanaseba

* 来る = くる = kuru = to come

→e sound: 来れ = くれ = kure

→+ ( = ba) : 来れ = くれ = kureba

* する = suru = to do

→e sound: すれ = sure

→+ ( = ba) : すれ ( = sureba) 

Negative form:

* 行かない = ikanai = not to go

1) delete ( = i) and add なけれ ( = nakereba) 

行かなけれ = いかなけれ =  ikanakereba

adjective

* i-adjective

* 忙しい = いそがしい = isogashii = busy

1) delete the last ( = i ) 

忙し = いそがし= isogashi

2) add ければ ( = kereba)

忙しければ = いそがしければ = isogashi kereba

* 難しい = むずかしい = muzukashii = difficult 

→ delete ( = i): 難し = むずかし= muzukashi

→ add ければ ( = kereba) : 難しけれ = むずかしけれ = muzukashikereba

Negative form:

1) delete the last ( = i)  and add くなけれ (= kunakereba) 

→ 忙しくなけれ = いそがしくなけれ = isogashiku nakereba

*na-adjective

* 便利 = べんり = benri = convenient, useful

→ add ならば (= naraba)

便利なら = べんりなら=  benri naraba

or

→ add であれ = de areba

便利であれば = べんりであれば= benri de areba

Negative form

add + でなけれ ( = denakereba)  / + じゃなけれ ( = janakereba)  (more casual) 

→ 便利でなけれ = べんりでなけれ=  benri de nakereba

(more casual)

便利じゃなけれ = べんりじゃなけれ = benri janakereba 

* noun 

noun +  add であれ ( = de areba)/  なら ( = naraba)

* 先生 = せんせい = sensei = teacher

→ add であれ ( = de areba) 

先生であれ = せんせいであれ = sensei de areba

or

→ add なら ( = naraba)

先生なら  = せんせいなら = sensei naraba

Negative form

nounでなけれ ( = denakereba)  / + じゃなければ ( = janakereba)  (more casual) 

→ 先生でなけれ

= せんせいでなけれ

= sensei de nakereba

(more casual)

→ 先生じゃなけれ

= せんせいじゃなけれ

= sensei janakereba

Note: なら (= naraba) →なら (= nara) 

You often drop ( = ba) in conversation.

なら (= naraba) →なら (= nara) 

なら (= nara)  is more conversational. 

Check my なら (= nara) lesson.

 ***

 :s: How to use:

1) If certain condition X is fulfilled (If X happens),  Y will happen (predictable outcome) / If X happens, s.o. will do Y.

X Y = X ba Y

Ex. 今、家を出れ (X) 間に合う (Y)

= Ima, ie wo dereba  (X) maniau (Y) .

= If I leave my house now (X) , I can make it (Y).

In other word, 

*If certain condition X is not fulfilled (If X doesn’t happen), Y will not happen  (predictable outcome) 

Ex. 今、家を出なけれ (X) 間に合わない  (Y)

= Ime, ie wo denakereba (X) maniawanai  (Y).

= If I don’t leave my house (X), I won’t make it (Y).

*****

Note: Most of the following sentences can be replaced with たら (= tara). 

Before I give you all the examples, let me explain some of the differences between たら (= tara) and    ( = ba).

★The difference between たら ( = tara) and ( = ba):

(1) While たら (= tara) can be used for both negative and positive outcomes, you tend to use   (= ba) for favorable outcomes for the speaker.

(2) You can use たら (= tara) when you talk about past events but you cannot use   (= ba) unless you are talking about regrets that you have/haven’t done in the past or if you are talking about something that is not true.

I asked her out for a date (X), but she turned me down (Y).

Ex. 彼女をデートに誘ったら (X) 断られた (Y)。

= Kanojo wo deeto ni sasottara  (X) kotowarareta  (Y).

(The speaker actually asked her out).

You can’t say 誘え = sasoeba

She would say:

Ex. 誘ってくれれ*行ったのに。

= Sasotte kurereba itta noni.

= If you had asked me out, I would have said yes.

(*誘ってくれたら = sasotte kuretara) 

(He didn’t actually ask her out, so she didn’t go.)

(3) When you are talking about what you are going to do/will be able to do.

Ex.3時になったらおやつを食べよう。(verb volitional form)

= Sanji ni nattara oyatsu wo tabeyou.

= I am going to eat my snack at three.

You can’t say:

3時になれ   ( = sanji ni nareba) 

Turning three o’ clock won’t be the condition for one’s desire to eat a snack.

You can say:

* 3時になれ*おやつを食べてもいいです。(giving permission)

= Sanji ni nareba oyatsu wo tabete mo iidesu. 

= You can eat a snack at three.

(*なったら= nattara)

* 3時になれ*おやつが食べられる。(potential form)

= Sanji ni nareba oyatsu ga taberareru.

= When it hits three o’clock, I can eat a snack.

(*なったら= nattara)

In both cases, three o’ clock  is the condition that has to be met for someone to be able to have a snack.

*****

So you give a condition (X) to have the outcome (Y).

Ex. 明日になれ*熱も下がりますよ。

= Ashita ni nareba netsu mo sagarimasu yo.

= Your fever will go down tomorrow. 

( * 明日になったら= ashita ni natttara)

Ex. 毎日この運動をすれ*必ず痩せます。

= Mainichi kono undou wo sureba kanarazu yasemasu.

= If you do these exercises everyday, I can guarantee that you will lose weight.

(* 運動をしたら= undou wo shitara) 

Ex. 努力していれ*いつか報われる。

= Doryoku shite ireba itsuka mukuwareru.

= If you keep making efforts, you will be rewarded eventually.

(* 努力をしていたら = doryoku wo shiteitara)

Ex. 春になれ*もっと暖かくなる。

= Haru ni nareba mottto atatakaku naru.

= It will get warmer in spring. 

( * 春になったら = haru ni nattara) 

Ex. 大人になれ*わかるよ。

= Otonani nareba wakaru yo.

= You will know when you grow up.

( * 大人になったら = otonani nattara)

Ex. 優しい人じゃなけれ*結婚しません。

= Yasashii hito ja nakereba kekkon shimasen.

= The person I marry must be a sweet person. (If not, I won’t marry)

(*優しい人じゃなかったら= Yasashii hito ja nakattara)

Ex. 20歳になれ*お酒が飲める。

= Hatachi ni nareba osake ga nomeru.

= When I turn twenty, I can drink. 

(*20歳になったら = hatachi ni nattara)

Ex. 彼なら私の気持ちがわかるはずだ。

= Kare naraba watashi no kimochi ga wakaru hazuda.

= He should know how I feel.

(Maybe other people wouldn’t understand, but he would.)

(*彼だったら= kare dattara / 彼なら = kare nara) 

Ex. 今日は忙しいけれども明日なら時間があります。

= Kyou wa isogashii keredomo ashita naraba jikan ga arimasu.

= I’m busy today, but I have time tomorrow.

(If it is tomorrow, I will have more time.) 

(* 明日だったら = ashita dattara / 明日なら = ashita nara)

Ex. ここをまっすぐ行け*大きな通りに出ます。

= Koko wo massugu ikeba ookina toori ni demasu.

= If you go straight, you will get to the big street.

(*行ったら = ittara/ **行く = ikuto = You will find the big street. )

Note: The difference between ( = ba) and ( = to)

* The particle ( = to) 

certain condition + (= to) + predictable outcome,  habitual actions, natural phenomenon, to give instructions on how to use a machine

If you do ~ / something happens, →automatically, naturally/ certainly happens. / the speaker discover something 

Ex. 1) この薬を飲む熱が下がりますよ。

= Kono kusuri wo nomu to netsu ga sagarimasu yo.

= When you take this medicine, your fever will drop. (automatically) 

***

The speaker thinks if you do ~ +  something will happen.

Ex. 2) この薬を飲め/飲んだら熱が下がりますよ。

= Kono kusuri wo nomeba/nondara netsu ga sagarimasu yo.

= If you take this medicine, your fever will go down. (more hypothetical)  

***

The speaker finds out something after doing something.

Ex. ドアを開ける父が立っていた。

= Doa wo akeru to chichi ga tatte ita.

= When I opened the door, I found my dad standing there. 

You can’t replace this ( = to) with ( = ba) 

X ドアを開けれ父が立っていた。

= Doa wo akereba chichi ga tatte ita.

2) Asking for advice/ suggestions. 

Interrogative いつ/どこ/なに/だれ/どう, etc. ( = Itsu/ Doko / Nani / Dare/ Dou)  + V ( = ba) ~ ですか?( = desu ka)? 

= When / Where / What / Who / How (Y) ) + should I +   to do ~ (X) ?  

Ex. 切符を買うにはどこに行け*いいですか?

= Kippu wo kau ni wa dokoni ikeba ii desu ka?

= Where should I go to get a ticket?

(* 行ったら = ittara ) 

Ex. この件について誰に聞けわかりますか?

= Kono ken ni tsuite dare ni kikeba wakarimasu ka?

= Who should know about this matter? / Who should I ask about this matter?

( * 聞いたら= kiitara) 

Ex. 日本語がうまくなるためにはどうすれ*いいですか?

= Nihongo ga umaku naru tame niwa dousureba ii desuka?

= What should I do in order to improve my Japanese?

( * どうしたら = doushitara) 

Ex. 私はなにをすれ*いいですか?

= Watashi wa nani wo sureba ii desu ka?

= What should I do?

( * たら = shitara) 

Ex. いつまでにレポートを提出すれ* いいですか?

= Itsumade ni repooto wo teishutsu sureba ii desu ka?

= By when should I submit my report?

( * たら = shitara) 

Ex.  いつ行けパピに会えるの?

= Itsu ikeba Papi ni aeru no?

= When should I go to see Papi? 

(  * 行ったら = ittara) 

3)   giving someone a suggestion/ an advice.  (Why don’t you do ~ ?/  I think you should do ~.

Ex. もっとがんばれ*いいんじゃない?

= Motto ganbare ba iin jjanai?

= I think you should try a little harder.

( *がんばったら= ganbattara) 

Ex. もう遅いから明日やれ*? 

= Mou osoi kara ashita yareba?

= It’s late so why don’t you do that tomorrow?

( *やったら =yattara)

Ex. 最後まで読め*?

= Saigo made yomeba?

= Why don’t you read to the end?

( *読んだら = yondara)

4) Expressing one’s desire ( Vたい ( = tai) = to want to V) wish

If the condition X is fulfilled, the speaker wants to do Y.

Ex. 安けれ買います。

= Yasukereba kaimasu.

= If it is cheap, I will buy it.

( *安かったら買います。

= Yasukattara kaimasu.)

or

Ex. 高くなけれ買います。

= Takaku nakereba kaimasu.

= If it is not expensive, I will buy it.

Ex. 時間があれ*会いたいんだけど。

= Jikan ga areba aitain dakedo.

= I would like to see you if you have some time.

( * あったら = attara) 

Ex. いい人がいれ結婚したい。

= Ii hito ga ireba kekon shitai.

= If there is someone nice, I would like to get married.

Note: You use たら ( = tara) when you think some action has completed, you want to do something.

Ex. 日本に行ったら美味しいラーメンが食べたい。

= Nihon ni ittara oishii raamen ga tabetai

= When/If  I go to Japan, I’d like to eat delicious ramen.

In this sentence, the action is 行く( = iku) to go but actually it means “once I get to Japan/ When I am in Japan”.

You can’t say:

X 日本に行け ( = nihon ni ikeba)

Getting in Japan won’t be the condition for your desire to eat ramen noodle.

4) to express one’s expectation on others (counterfactual) 

(1) V~ のに = ba ~ noni = It would be nice if you did something / I wish you could ~ 

Ex. マギーも行けいいのに

= Maggie mo ikeba ii noni.

= You should go, too, Maggie.

(*行ったら = ittara) 

Ex. もっと食べれいいのに

= Motto tabereba ii noni.

= You should have eaten more. / You should eat more.

(*食べたら = tabetara) 

(The speaker knows the listener is not going to eat anymore.)

Note: The difference between ( = ba) and たら ( = tara):

You use たら (= tara) + のに (= noni) when you talk about your own desire.

Ex. JLPTの1級に受かったらいいのに

= JLPT no ikyuu ni ukattara iinoni.

= I wish I could pass JLPT Level 1.

It will sound unnatural if you use ( = ba ) with your wish.

X 受かれいいのに (= ukareba iinoni)

(2) V + + V past tense + のに ( = ba ~  noni): It would have been nice if you had done something / You should have done ~ 

When you tell someone what they should have done:

Ex. 嫌だったらそう言え*よかったのに

= Iya dattara sou ieba yokatta noni.

= If you didn’t want to do it (didn’t like it) you should have said so.

(* 言ったら = ittara) 

Ex. 傘を持っていけ*よかったのに

= Kasa wo motte ikeba yokatta noni.

= You should have taken an umbrella with you.

(* 持っていったら= motte ittara) 

Ex. もっと早く言ってくれれ*スーツケースを貸してあげたのに

= Motto hayaku itte kurereba suutsukeesu wo kashite agetanoni.

= If you had told me earlier, I could have lent you my suitcase. 

( * 言ってくれたら = itte kuretara)

Ex. 薬を飲んでいれ*熱が下がったのに

= Kusurui wo nonde ireba netsu ga sagatta noni.

= If you had taken a medicine, the fever would have dropped. 

(* 飲んでいたら = nonde itara) 

 !Anapple! Related lessons:

For more usage of のに ( = noni) 

5) to express one’s regret feelings.

Ex. よせいいのに無理してジョギングして足を痛めた。

= Yoseba ii noni muri shite jogingu shite ashi wo itameta.

=  I forced myself to jog and I ended up hurting my leg. I really shouldn’t have done it.

Ex. 私も買え* よかった。

= Watashi mo kaeba yokatta.

= I should have bought it.

(* 買ったら= kattara) 

Ex. 若い頃にもっと勉強しておけよかった。

= Wakai koro ni motto benkyou shite okeba yokatta.

= I wish I had studied more when I was young.

For more usage of よかった ( = yokatta)  

6) command

~ (X) + ~ しなさい/してください/して/ しろ ( *しろ ( = shiro) is strong command), etc = ~ ba (X) + shinasai / shitekudasai / shite/ shiro

If the verb in the following sentence (Y) is not action (思う= omou,etc.)  and a state verb such as ある (= aru) / いる (= iru) / なる (= naru) etc.,  you can use ば (= ba)

Ex. 時間があれ *来てください。

= Jikan ga areba kite kudasai.

= Please come over if you have time.

(* あったら= attara)

Ex. それが自分のためになると思え*やりなさい。

= Sore ga jibun no tame ni naru to omoeba yarinasai.

= If you think it would be good for you, just do it.

(* 思ったら = omottara)

Ex. わからないことがあれ*私に聞きなさい。

= Wakaranai koto ga areba watashi ni kikinasai.

= If there are things that you don’t understand, just ask me.

(*あったら = attara) 

Again if the verb in the sentence (X) is not the state and implies completion of some action, you can’t use ば ( = ba).

Ex. 空港に着いたら電話しなさい。

= Kuukou ni tsuitara denwa shinasai.

= Call me when you get to the airport.

X 空港に着け ( = kuukou ni tsukeba)

Ex. お父さん、私が満点取ったらゲームを買ってね。

= Otousan, watashi ga manten tottara geimu wo katte ne.

= Dad, if I get a perfect score, buy me a game, OK? 

X You can’t say  取れ (= toreba) 

Ex. 近くに来たら連絡してね。

= Chikaku ni kitara renraku shitene.

= Let me know when you are in the neighborhood. 

X You can’t say 来れ ( = kureba ) 

7)   V negative form + ( = ba) + いけない ( = ikenai)/ ならない ( = naranai) = have to do / must to do ~ 

Ex. もう行かなけれいけない。

= Mou ikanakereba ikenai.

= I have to go now.

Ex. もっと勉強しなけれいけません。

= Motto benkyou shinakereba ikemasen.

= You (or I) have to study more.

Note: You can’t replace with たら ( = tara) in this usage.

X 行ったらいけない ( = ittara ikenai ) means “shouldn’t go”)

X 勉強したらいけない ( = benkyou shitara ikenai) means “shouldn’t study”  

In more conversational speech you can say ない (= naito) instead of なけれ (= nakereba) 

行かないいけない。= Ikanai to ikenai.

勉強しないいけない。= Benkyou shinai to ikenai.

8) ~ほど = ~  ba ~  hodo =   the more you do ~, the more ~ 

Ex. この本は読め読むほど面白くなる。

= Kono hon wa yomeba yomu hodo omoshiroku naru.

= The more I read this book, the more interesting it gets.

Ex. 安けれ安いほどいい。

= Yasukereba yasui hodo ii.

= The cheaper the better.

Some of you might say:

Ex. このレッスンは読め読むほどわからなくなる :-? 

= Kono ressun wa yomeba yomu hodo wakaranaku naru.

= The more I read this lesson, the more I get confused.

But I would say:

Ex. 勉強すれするほど、わかるようになりますよ。

= Benkyou sureba suru hodo, wakaru you ni narimasu yo.

= The more you study, the more you will come to understand.

Check this lesson for more example sentences. 

 :rrrr: How to use ほど ( = hodo) 

9) Idiomatic expression: 

Ex. 住め都 

= sumeba miyako 

= Home is where you can make it.

Ex. 三人寄れ文殊の知恵 

= Sannin yoreba monju no chie 

= (literal meaning) If three people get together, they can come up with a good idea. 

Two heads are better than one 

Ex. 終わりよけれすべて良し 

= Owari yokereba subete yoshi~

= All’s Well That Ends Well. 

Ex.  ああ言えこう言う

= Aa ieba kou iu.

= always talk back / If I say this, you say that.

あ~終わった~!最後まで読んでくれてありがとう!

= Ahh Owattaa! Saigo made yonde kurete arigatou! 

= It’s finished. Thank you for reading to the end. 

*******

マギー先生より = Maggie sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

パピ先生、ありがとう!

= Papi Sensei, arigatou!

= Thank you Papi-sensei!

笑っていれパピ先生みたいに幸せになれるね。

= Waratte ireba Papi Sensei mitai ni shiawase ni nareru ne.

= Right. If we keep smiling, we will be happy like Papi-sensei.

****

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13 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for this really helpful lesson Maggie Sensei!

    I have a question about a sentence I read recently, which is:

    「貴方はあの人や私をどれだけ馬鹿にすれば気が済むんだっ!!」

    I kind of get the meaning of the sentence from context but cant seem to figure out how to correctly translate it.

    The construction looks like Interrogative + V(ば) + ですか but advice/suggestion translating to “should” doesnt really fit.

    1) How would you translate the sentence?

    2) Is there a reason to use や over と to mean “and” in this sentence?

    1. Hi カルミス

      1) 気がすむ means “to be satisfied” but in this case it is sarcastic.→ How much is enough for you to make you satisfied?
      どれだけ~ だ! shows the speaker feels angry.

      It could be translated in many ways but for example
      * Enough with making fun of him/her and me?
      * Are you satisfied looking down on her/him and me this much?

      2) AとB means “A and B”!
      AやB means “A and B and etc.”

  2. What usage of ば is being used in this sentence?
    「こっちが気ー使ってればいい気になりやがって!」

    1. It’s an idiomatic expression.

      こっちが+ 気を使っていれば when I concern about your feelings /下手にでれば when I behave modestly / 黙っていれば when I keep my mouth shut (condition) + いい気になって (you take an advantage/ get full of yourself/ behave arrogantly)

      1. Ah, much clearer now.
        I appreciate these lessons. Although I have no problem in the vocabulary department, I’ve too long neglected the grammatical quirks and nuances of the language; a lot is clicking into place now, reading your lessons.

  3. こんばんは先生!おつかれさまでした!i can feel the amount of effort and time you spend for this lesson to help us. I really appreciate it.

    I have the following questions please:

    1.”明日になれば*熱も下がりますよ.” In this sentnce what is “も” here?

    2.”明日になれば*熱も下がりますよ.” And”明日になったら*熱も下がりますよ.” No difference at all?

    3. When exactly we never use”-ば”? From the lesson, is it only when we express our wishes and past events we dont use-ば?what else? im very confused

    4. -ば and のに、which express regret and wish more?which is better? What situations we never use-ば instead of のに?

    Thank you so much in advance.

    1. Hi Kuroineko

      1. If you say 熱は下がりますよ, it implies other symptoms may remains but the fever will drop.
      So by using も, it implies the main concern, the fever, will also be gone with other problems.

      2. They mean the same.

      3. You mean compare to たら、と、なら?
      Hmm I think I covered some in the lesson. I will add it when I think of more.

      4. which express regret and wish more?which is better? What situations we never use-ば instead of のに?
      Sorry but I don’t quite get your question.
      For example if you are talking to someone,

      行けばいいのに You should go. (knowing that the person won’t be able to go)
      行ったらよかったのに You should have gone.
      They both express one’s wish (even if the speaker knows it won’t come true) and not regrets.

      Check my のに lesson.

  4. Thank you so much Maggie Sensei! You spend so much time on these lessons!

    I was wondering how you would translate “the more you do~, the LESS~”?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Rachel!

      Good question!
      “the more you do~, the LESS~” = Usually ~ すればするほど〜なくなる patten works.

      the more I know, the less I understand
      知れば知るほどわからなくなる。

      The more I buy, the less money I have.
      買えば買うほど、お金がなくなる。

    2. Thank you so much 先生!
      i understand now and i hope u can do my point 3 if u can think of more. I’d really appreciate it.

      I will try to check のに soon after i can fully understand -ba
      To be honest, Japanese language has so many (if) so many (must) so i feel so confused and when you want to talk to someone which one to use is difficult I think.

      1. Right. It is complicated. As I wrote, たら is less restricted so it should cover a lot of the situations.
        As for 3, yes, I will add more inf. when I think of more. :)

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