Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 1: 1/23

ばいい
can・should, it'd be good if

Structure
Casual
Formal
Verb[ば]+ いい
Verb[ば]+ いい + です
Details
Register Standard
使用域 一般
Information
In contrast to ばよかった, which is used for expressing regret about something that someone wishes had been done, ばいい highlights that the speaker is hoping for a particular result, in relation to something that has not happened yet. This translates as ‘It’d be good if (A)’.
To use ばいい, add the 接続助詞(せつぞくじょし) (conjunction particle) ば, to the end of any verb, and then attach the い-Adjective, いい.
  • どれ食(た)べればいい迷(まよ)ってるところ
    About which would be good to eat, I am currently a bit lost.
  • 行(い)ければいいけど行(い)ける分(わ)からない
    It would be good if I could go, but I don't know if I can.
Although ばいい literally means ‘if (A), it’s good’, it can also be used to give advice, and has a meaning that is similar to ‘should (A)’ in these situations. It is generally quite a soft way of giving advice.
  • テストいい点(てん)取(と)りたかったら勉強(べんきょう)すればいいんじゃない
    If you want a good grade on your test, shouldn't you just study?
  • そんなに疲(つか)れているなら仕事(しごと)休(やす)めばいい
    If you are that tired, you should just take a day off.
Caution
ばいい may also be used when making statements about something that the speaker believes is not possible. In these cases, it is regularly paired with のに, and has the nuance of ‘despite it being good if it were (A)’. This shows that the speaker thinks that (A) would be good, but is aware that (A) cannot/will not happen for some reason.
  • 明日(あした)早(はや)く起(お)きればいいのに全然(ぜんぜん)寝(ね)れない
    Even though I want to wake up early tomorrow, I can't sleep at all.
  • 好(す)きなら彼(かれ)そう言(い)えばいいのに
    Even though you should just say it if you like him… (Why don’t you)
  • 休(やす)めばいいのに皆(みんな)真面目(まじめ)だから休(やす)まない
    They should take a break, but because they are all very diligent, they won’t.
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道(みち)案内(あんない)を、誰(だれ)に聞(き)けばいいのか分(わ)からない
I don't know who would be good to ask directions from.
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運動(うんどう)すればいいだろう。
It would probably be good if you exercised.
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ドライブに行(い)きたいなら、運転(うんてん)免許(めんきょ)を取(と)ればいいです。
If you want to go driving, it would be good to get a driver's license.
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Books
みんなの日本語 II
Page 66 [CH 35]
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 139
[AIAIJ] An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
Page 35