In this thread on japan-guide.com, we find two seemingly contradictory statements concerning the conditional particle .

One poster states:

If A & B are the same subject, B must be non-volitional. Otherwise, B can be volitional, e.g.:


Another poster states that were used in expressions which reflect the speaker's will, judgment, permission, view, order or request, e.g.:

[早]{はや}く[起]{お}きられれば、 [電話]{でんわ}をかけます/します

How do we reconcile these two statements?

Both do seem correct on their own.

  • 2
    "An opinion"? "Another"? What are your sources?
    – user1478
    Nov 13, 2014 at 9:17
  • 2
    Google never ceases to surprise me. Just search that thread for "reflect the speaker's will," and "If A & B are the same subject" to locate the relevant posts.
    – blutorange
    Nov 13, 2014 at 12:03

1 Answer 1


Gramatically there is no restriction on volatility. Practically, however, the first presenter’s rule is partially correct.

If you say:

× 早く起きれば、電話します。

Japanese listener thinks:

It is you that decides whether to wake up early or not. Thus, you must know whether you will make a call or not.

On the other hand:

⚪︎ 早く起きられれば、電話します。

is acceptable, because you don't know yet whether you can wake up early or not.

  • So,would '早く起くなら,電話します' be better - turning the driving clause to be an assumption rather than a condition?
    – IUnknown
    Nov 14, 2014 at 2:35
  • @IUnknown “起きるなら” will arise same feeling as “起きれば”.
    – a user
    Nov 14, 2014 at 4:46
  • So that would be incorrect too.
    – IUnknown
    Nov 14, 2014 at 4:52

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