Ever wondered how to say “if” in Japanese? There are several ways to express condition, in this article we will take a closer look at one of them, the nara form.
Nara is a contextual condition, used after a verb, adjective or noun. It is used to describe something in a given context, it does not always present a real condition. The full form is naraba [ならば], it is more formal, but most of the time just [なら] is used.
What does nara mean in Japanese?
Nara besides being the name of a famous Japanese city where you can find deer. It is also a conditional that can be translated as:
- in case;
- if any;
- if it is true that;
- as to;
- on the topic of;
- if then;
- this being the caseO;
- if possible;
- if circumstances permit;
The form nara [なら] also serves to emphasize what comes before. The negative form naranai [ならない] can be translated as: one should not; should not; can not;
There is also the demonstrative adjective sorenara [それなら] which can be translated to: If so, if so, or else.
Conditional phrases in Japanese
|皆が行くなら私も行く。||Mine ga ikunara watashi mo iku.||If everyone goes, I will too|
|君ならできるよ||Kiminara dekiru yo||I believe you are capable|
|交通事故には用心しなければならない。||Kōtsū jiko ni wa yōjin shinakereba naranai.||We must guard against traffic accidents|
|暗くならないうちに帰宅しなさい。||Kuraku naranai uchi ni kitaku shi nasai.||Please go home before dark.|
|もし明日晴れなら、私たちは野球をします。||Moshi ashita harenara, watashitachiha yakyū o shimasu.||If it's sunny tomorrow, let's play baseball.|
|君は５時までに駅に着かねばならない。||Kimi wa 5-ji made ni eki ni tsukaneba naranai.||You must arrive at the station by 5:00 am.|
|もっと仕事に変化があったならばなあ。||Motto shigoto ni henka ga attanaraba nā.||I wish there was more variety in my work.|
|日本に行くなら京都||Nihon ni ikunara Kyōto||If you go to Japan, visit Kyoto|
|忙しくないなら,どうして会えないの?||Isogashikunainara, dōshite aenai no?||If you're not busy, why don't you go out with me?|
|もし父がここにいたならばなんと言うだろう。||Moshi chichi ga koko ni itanaraba nanto iudarou.||If my father were here, what would he say.|
|それなら手伝ってよ||Sorenara tetsudatte yo||So help me!|
There are other ways to use なら and some facts that have not been explained, and that need to be analyzed further.
もし - How does moshi fit in?
You probably found the moshi [もし] in a few sentences above. Moshi can be translated as "if". How does it fit into sentences with naraba [ならば] or another conditional?
It is a supplement that adds a feeling of uncertainty about the actual condition. It can be used to make an invitation, or to assume something. It can be translated as: in case; guessing; if by chance; if once; perhaps; otherwise.
Let's look at another example sentence:
- しも時間がないなら, 明日でもいいよ
- Shimo jikan ga nainara, ashita demo ī yo
- If you don't have time today, it can be tomorrow;
- (It is not sure whether he has time or not.)
We also recommend reading:
- Why do Japanese people use Moshi Moshi when talking on the phone?
- What does Omoshiroi mean in Japanese?
- Japanese Particles - Guide to 200 Functions and Meanings
Using Nara as a Particle
The form nara [なら] can be used with a particle.
If you use the particle の before なら, you are emphasizing a meaning, and it can be used to give advice, make a suggestion, request and so on. You can use the particle の after adjectives and verbs.
- Son'nani atsui nonara uwagi o nugeba īnoni;
- If you're feeling hot, why don't you take your coat off?
You can use なら after particles に・から・ため・から・まで.
|駅までなら乗せてあげるよ||Eki madenara nosete ageru yo||I'll give you a ride if you're going to the station.|
|あなたのためなら何でもします.||Anata no tamani nani demo shimasu.||I would do anything (if it is) for you.|
|彼女にならなんでも買ってあげたい.||Kanojo ninara nan demo katte agetai.||I would like to buy anything (if any) for her.|
Colloquial Usage of Nara
In some conversations, you may hear nara [なら] in unusual places, such as at the beginning of a sentence. It can be translated as: If so; then.
|なら,私が買ってくるよ.||Nara, watashi ga katte kuru yo.||Then I will get something.|
|ああ、なら別のものを頼みます。||Ā, nara betsu no mono o tanomimasu.||Aa, so I'm going to order something else.|
I hope this short article has helped you to clear your doubts about the use of the naraba [ならば] form. Some sources that helped me to write this article and get example sentences were: maggiesensei, guidetojapanese.