“If…then…” Statements: Attaching ければ to Japanese Adjectives to Form the Conditional :The conditional form is one of the most useful Japanese grammar points in the language. The English equivalent is “If…then…” statements. There are three ways of making “If…then…” statements in Japanese: the tara form, the nara form, and the ba form. In today’s lesson, we’re going to focus on the ba form.

TOP 15 BASIC Japanese i-adjectives You must know first in Japanese | Japanese language lesson
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Japanese Adjective Review

Before we begin, let’s review a few common adjectives. There are two types of adjectives in Japanese: iadjectives and naadjectives. Iadjectives end with the hiragana character い (i), and naadjectives end with the character な (na). Let’s take a look at a few examples.

I-ADJECTIVES

JapaneseRomajiEnglish
高いtakaiexpensive
寒いsamuicold
面白いomoshiroiinteresting/funny/entertaining
美味しいoishiidelicious
いいiigood

NA-ADJECTIVES

JapaneseRomajiEnglish
便利(な)benri (na)convenient
必要(な)hitsuyou (na)necessary
だめ(な)dame (na) unacceptable
有名(な)yuumei (na)famous
安全(な)anzen (na)safe

Now that we have familiarized ourselves with some common adjectives, let’s make a few simple sentences below utilizing these adjectives.

私は高いホテルが好きです。
Watashi wa takai hoteru ga suki desu.
I like expensive hotels.
日本は安全な国です。
Nihon wa anzen na kuni desu.
Japan is a safe country.

The Ba Form (the Conditional Form)

The ba form attached to the end of an adjective creates an “If…then…” sentence. Sentences that use the ba form are less colloquial than the other conditional form tara (which we won’t cover in this lesson). The main clause (i.e. the first half of a sentence) can be a desire, hope, command, suggestion, or statement of one’s will.

Conjugating IAdjectives into the Ba Form 

In order to conjugate an i-adjective into the ba form, you simply replace the final hiragana character い with ければ (kereba). Let’s take our i-adjectives from above and conjugate them into the ba form below. Notice that the very last adjective いい (ii, good) has to be changed back into its dictionary form 良い (yoi) before it can be conjugated into the ba form.

I-ADJECTIVES (BA FORM)

JapaneseRomajiEnglish
  ➝ 高ければtakai  ➝ takakerebaexpensive  ➝ Iif it’s expensive
  ➝ 寒ければsamui  ➝ samukerebacold  ➝ If it’s cold
面白  ➝ 面白ければomoshiroi  ➝ omoshirokerebainteresting  ➝ If it’s interesting
美味し  ➝ 美味しければoishii  ➝ oishikerebadelicious  ➝ If it’s delicious
いい  ➝ 良  ➝ 良ければii  ➝ yoi  ➝ yokerebagood  ➝ If it’s good

Now that we know how to change iadjectives into the ba form, let’s create a few sentences. Since the ba form is the more formal conditional form, we’re going to conjugate the verb into the polite form as well.

時計は高ければ、買いません。
Tokei wa takakereba, kaimasen.
If the watch is expensive, I won’t buy it.
ヨーロッパは寒ければ、行きません。
Yooroppa wa samukereba, ikimasen.
If Europe is cold, I won’t go.
映画は面白ければ、見ましょう!
Eiga wa omoshirokereba, mimashou!
If the movie is interesting, let’s see it!
料理は美味しければ、食べてみたいです。
Ryouri wa oishikereba, tabete mitai desu.
If the food is delicious, I want to try it.
あなたには良ければ、コンサートに行きましょうか?
Anata ni wa yokereba, konsaato ni ikimashou ka?
If it’s okay with you, shall we go to a concert?

Conjugating NaAdjectives into the Ba Form

In order to conjugate naadjectives into the ba form, you simply leave out the な and add ならば (naraba) instead. The “ba” at the end of “naraba” is optional. Let’s take our naadjectives from above and conjugate them into the ba form below.

NA-ADJECTIVES

JapaneseRomajiEnglish
便利  ➝ 便利なら(ば)benri  ➝ benrinara(ba)convenient  ➝ If it’s convenient
必要  ➝ 必要なら(ば)hitsuyou  ➝ hitsuyounara(ba)necessary  ➝ If it’s necessary
だめ  ➝ だめなら(ば)dame  ➝ damenara(ba)unacceptable  ➝ If it’s unacceptable
有名  ➝ 有名なら(ば)yuumei  ➝ yuumeinara(ba)famous  ➝ If it’s famous
安全  ➝ 安全なら(ば)anzen  ➝ anzennara(ba)safe  ➝ If it’s safe

Now that we know how to conjugate na-adjectives into the ba form, let’s create some sentences.

あなたには東京の方が便利ならば、そこで会いましょうか?
Anata ni wa Toukyou no hou ga benrinaraba, soko de aimashou ka?
If Tokyo is more convenient for you, shall we meet there?
運転免許が必要ならば、忘れない方がいいですね。
Untenmenkyo ga hitsuyounaraba, wasurenai hou ga ii desu ne.
If you need your driver’s license, it’s best not to forget it.
あのレストランはだめならば、他の場所に行きましょう。
Ano resutoran wa damenaraba, hoka no basho ni ikimashou.
If that restaurant is unacceptable, let’s go to another place.
あのラーメンは有名ならば、食べてみたいです!
Ano raamen wa yuumeinaraba, tabete mitai desu!
If that ramen is famous, I want to try it!
この近所は安全ならば、ここに住みたいです。
Kono kinjo wa anzennaraba, koko ni sumitai desu.
If this neighborhood is safe, I want to live here.
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In Conclusion

In order to make an “If…then…” sentence in Japanese, you must use the conditional form. The more formal conditional form is the ba form. In order to conjugate iadjectives into the ba form, you simply remove the hiragana character い at the end of the word and replace it with ければ. In order to conjugate naadjectives into the ba form, you leave out the な character and add ならば instead. The “ba” at the end of “naraba” is optional.

Now that you’ve got a new Japanese grammar point under your belt, it’s time to get out there and practice, practice, practice!

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