I am exercising conditional forms (I am still a beginner), and I have a bit of a problem bending this case:

I want to say "If you will be living in Japan, it is recommended that you learn Japanese."

Now if I write:


that would mean "If you are living in Japan, .."

if I want to underline the future tense, I should be using 住んでいます, right? But how do I make condition with a -masu form of the verb?

So far, I've learned about:

-eba form, but that is (to my knowledge) used with the dictionary form of the verbs;

-naraba, which again is used with the dictionary form of the verb;

-tara, which is used with the informal past form.

Can I say:


How do I make conditional form of a verb in future tense?

Thank you for reading this far. Any help is appreciated.

  • 1
    FYI, using 日本語を学ぶことだ is not a "recommendation". That's a firm "must", in an almost passive-aggressive command. Like, "You will learn Japanese".
    – istrasci
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 20:00
  • thank you, I was aware of this, but kind of didn't stress on that part of the sentence, since the conditional form is driving me crazy at the moment :)
    – saidy
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 20:29
  • If you had been aware of that, then why would you try to combine a strong order with a -masu form? -imasu and -iru differ in politeness level, not tense. Besides, you don't use "will" in conditional if-clauses in English. "If you were living in Japan you should learn English" is the future conditional form. If your native language combines future tense with conditional form, it is likely that you are trying to apply the pattern rather than to express what you mean.
    – macraf
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 23:09
  • Does it matter in what you are trying to express if it was future? "If living now" => no need to learn Japanese; "if living in the future" => it is recommended? Or is it to differentiate: "generally for people living in Japan it is not necessary", but if you were living (hence future, because you don't live now) then it is recommended?
    – macraf
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 23:23
  • 2
    How about 日本に住むなら or 日本に住むならば? or maybe 日本に住むつもりなら?
    – chocolate
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 4:25

1 Answer 1


First of all, the tense you are looking for is what is often called the non-past, rather than future. In Japanese, the non-past form sort of doubles as a present and future tense. (More about this here: Would the plain form of a verb usually be translated as future tense?)

住む is the base, plain, dictionary form, and this is the non-past tense. Attaching a 〜ます to make 住みます just makes it politer.

住んでいる is the present progressive form of the verb 住む. Therefore, adding 〜ます to make it 住んでいます will not turn it back to the non-past form. It's just a politer way of saying 住んでいる.

As you have mentioned, 〜ならば is used with the dictionary form of the verb. Luckily, the dictionary form is exactly what you want, because it is the non-past tense:

日本に住ならば、日本語 を学ぶことだ。
If you (will) live in Japan, learn Japanese.

Other examples:

  • 走る{はしる}ならば、スニーカーを履く{はく}ことだ。
    If you (will) run, wear sneakers.
  • 食べる{たべる}ならば、フォークを使う{つかう}ことだ。
    If you (will) eat, use a fork.
  • I see my mistake - for some reason, when it comes to the verb 住む, I feel like it always has to be in progressive form - that is why I did not at all think of using the base dictionary form, but was focusing on the progressive form. Your explanation is very clear and helpful, thank you.
    – saidy
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 6:08

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