Grammar Info
N2 Lesson 1: 18/21

ものなら ①
if, if one could, if something would be possible

Verb[できる]+ ものなら + Phrase
Register Standard
使用域 一般
Often seen after the potential form of verbs is the 接続助詞(せつぞくじょし) (conjunction particle) ものなら. This grammar pattern expresses that while (A) is not thought to be possible, if it were possible, (B). Common translations include ‘if (A), (B)’, if one could (A), (B)’, and ‘if (A) were possible, (B)’.
As ものなら is just a combination of もの and the 仮定形(かていけい) (hypothetical form) of だ (なら), ものなら simply states that if (A) were a ‘thing’, then (B).
  • 俺(おれ)のことを捕(つか)まえることができると思(おも)うものなら、捕(つか)まえてみろ!
    If you think that you can catch me, try and catch me!
  • すぐに直(なお)せるものなら直(なお)したいけど、今(いま)はちょっとお金(かね)がないから厳(きび)しいかな。
    If I could fix it soon I want to fix it, but it might be tough right now because I don’t have money.
Due to ものなら regularly expressing a desired outcome in the (B) part of sentences, this grammar structure will usually be accompanied by てみる or てみたい. Additionally, もし may also appear at the beginning of the sentence to further increase the nuance of ‘if’.
  • もしあなたが私(わたし)より上手(じょうず)に書(か)けるものなら自分(じぶん)で書(か)いてみたらどうですか?
    If you can write it better than I can, why don’t you write it yourself?
  • もし行(い)けるものならケニヤに行(い)ってみたいです。
    If it is possible, I would like to go to Kenya.
てみる is often used for criticism, suggesting that if someone thinks that (A) were possible, then perhaps they should try it. てみたい on the other hand is more commonly seen when (A) is wished for, and the speaker would like to do it if possible.
While not a strict rule, the verb in both the (A) and (B) parts of ものなら sentences is frequently the same. Especially when expressing a desire to do (A).
Slow Male
Hide All
Hide Japanese
Hide English
If you can do this better than me, I'd like to see you try.
[if you could]
If I could reverse the flow of time, I would like to travel to the past, but time travel is simply impossible.
帰国(きこく)できるものなら 帰国(きこく)したいが、お金(かね)が十分(じゅうぶん)にない。
If I could return to my country, I would like to, but I do not have enough money.

No page info