Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 8: 11/18

if・when, whenever, and, [conditional]

Verb +
[い]Adjective +
[な]Adjective + +
Noun + +
Register Standard
使用域 一般
In the same way as the 格助詞(かくじょし) (case-marking particle) means ‘and’, sometimes it is translated as ‘if’. In these cases, it is considered to be far stronger than , なら, or たら (which express hypothetical outcomes). This is because one of the primary uses of is highlighting 結果(けっか) ‘a result’. In these cases, is actually a 接続助詞(せつぞくじょし), and shows one of three things.
仮定(かてい)の順接(じゅんせつ) - A result that is assumed to be true, and obvious.
確定(かくてい)の順接(じゅんせつ) - A result that is known to be true.
仮定(かてい)の逆接(ぎゃくせつ) - The opposite of a result that is assumed to be true.
Due to this, the (B) part of a phrase using as ‘if’, will always occur when (A) happens, as it is considered to be the result of (A).
  • 甘(あま)ものいっぱい食(た)べ、太(ふと)
    If you eat a lot of sweet things, you will gain weight.
  • 部屋(へや)汚(きたな)、お母(かあ)さんに怒(おこ)られる
    If my room is messy, my mother will yell at me.
  • 部屋(へや)静(しず)か、眠(ねむ)ない
    If my room is quiet, I can't sleep.
  • 地下鉄(ちかてつ)、5分(ふん)早(はや)く着(つ)
    If it’s the subway, you will arrive 5 minutes faster.
may not be used in situations where the (B) result ‘might’ happen. It must be definite (or close to definite).
  • 走(はし)けがする
    If I run, I will injure myself. (Unnatural Japanese, unless this person always injures themselves while running for some reason)
In this particular nuance of , despite being translated as ‘if’, the actual meaning is much closer to ‘and’, as is expressing that (A) and (B) will always go together.
  • 目(め)閉(と)じ何(なに)も見(み)えない
    I close my eyes, and I can't see.
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If you study, the test will be easy.
If you polish this rock, it will become beautiful.
If you look from here, you can't see Mt. Fuji at all.
Genki II 1st Edition
Page 118
みんなの日本語 I
Page 146 [CH 23]
Genki II 2nd Edition
Page 146
みんなの日本語 II
Page 66 [CH 35]
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 481
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 132