Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 8: 9/19

()たら ①

When it comes to, That or this … of mine, That or this darn …, That or this blasted …

AときたらB can also express that for a topic A, the most suitable course of action/the most suited match is B. As in 夏ときたらやっぱり海!

Structure

Noun + たら

Details

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    Casual

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    タメ語

About ときたら

ときたら is an expression used casually when expressing mild frustration toward (A) in a lighthearted manner. This structure is a combination of the case-marking particle と, and ()る combined with the conjunction particle たら 'if', ()たら. It will often simply be translated as 'that blasted (A)', or 'that damn (A)'. Despite this, the literal meaning is just 'when it comes to (A)'.
ときたら will directly follow nouns.
  • うちの息子(むすこ)ときたら就職(しゅうしょく)もしないで(いえ)でダラダラしている。
    When it comes to my son, he is not even trying to get a job, and he is just sitting around at home.
  • うちの(おとうと)ときたら(あさ)から文句(もんく)ばかり()ってくるから本当(ほんとう)にうざい。
    This (darn) brother of mine, he always complains to me in the morning, and it is really annoying.
  • (わたし)上司(じょうし)ときたら自分(じぶん)仕事(しごと)できないくせに(すこし)しでもミスをしたらものすごく(おこ)るからみんなから(きら)われている。
    When it comes to my boss, he gets super mad if you make the slightest mistake, even though he is not the best worker, so he is disliked by everyone at work.
This grammar pattern will almost exclusively appear in kana, so memorizing the stem verb it comes from will help to remember the meaning.
Fun Fact
In line with the literal meaning of 'when it comes to (A)', ときたら may also be used when the speaker wants to highlight something about (A) that is 'to be expected', or 'only natural'. Determining whether ときたら is being used in this way, or to express frustration, is usually quite clear in the second half of the statement.
  • うちの(いぬ)ときたら(いえ)にお(きゃく)さんが()るとその(ひと)()びつくからもっと(しつけ)をちゃんとしないといけない。
    When it comes to my dog, when a guest comes to our place, he jumps on them so I need to train him properly. (To be expected)
  • カセットテープを使(つか)機会(きかい)がなくなったため、最近(さいきん)若者(わかもの)ときたら、カセットプレイヤーが使(つか)えない子達(こたち)(おお)い。
    Since there is no opportunity to use cassette tapes, when it comes to the younger generation, there are many who do not know how to use cassette players. (Only natural)
Despite having two almost opposite nuances, it may help to think of ときたら as just 'when it comes to (A)' in all situations, with the (B) part of the phrase indicating whether it is positive or negative.

Examples

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  • このプリンターときたら(いそが)しい(とき)(かぎ)って故障(こしょう)するぞ!」

    'This freaking printer of mine, it breaks only when I am busy.'

    • 義理(ぎり)(はは)ときたら(わたし)のことをぼやいてばかり。」

      'That mother-in-law of mine, she always complains about me!'

      • (むすめ)真面目(まじめ)勉強(べんきょう)しているのに、息子(むすこ)ときたら・・・((なに)もやらない)」

        'Even though my daughter studies very seriously, that son of mine... (Doesn't do anything at all)'

        The comment can be omitted, since ときたら implies some sort of criticism by itself.

        • 「うちの旦那(だんな)ときたら連休中(れんきゅうちゅう)うちでゴロゴロばかりで、()どもの面倒(めんどう)をみてくれないの。」

          'That husband of mine, he is always loafing around during the holidays and doesn't take care of children!'

          • (たけ)さん(とう)さん格好(かっこう)いい。うちときたら(みず)節約(せつやく)してとか電気(でんき)無駄(むだ)使(つか)するなとかうるさくて(はら)()。」

            'Take, your father is so cool. When it comes to mine, he is always fussy, telling things like 'don't waste water' or 'don't waste electricity' and it pisses me off.'

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