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I've come across a sentence in Minna no Nihongo I can't explain myself:

はさみを使ったら、元の所に戻しておいてください。

In the book, its translation in French is, in English: "After you have used the scissors, put them at their original place".

The bit I'm not understanding is the usage of -tara to translate "after you have used", like はさみを使ったあとで. I can't find an explanation of this pattern, so I'm actually unsure if this is maybe the French translation (likely translated from the English translation :p) that is wrong, or if I misunderstood it.

  • BTW, this is not a "special" use of 〜たら. It is very common. – istrasci Feb 9 '16 at 22:17
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    「元の所にしておいてください。」 doesn't sound natural... Is it not 「元の所にしておいてください」? – Chocolate Feb 10 '16 at 3:36
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    jpwind.com/JP/dajiariyu/20121015056638.html This seems to be an unlicensed translation (or rip?) of Minna no Nihongo, and it says 元の所に戻しておいてください. – broccoli forest Feb 11 '16 at 13:41
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たら is a hypothetical particle similar to ば and なら, however it carries a different nuance. As you can probably infer from how the past tense is used (eg 読んだら 食べたら 使ったら), it implies that the action is already completed. Looking at your sentence,

はさみを使ったら、 元の所に戻しておいてください。

Comparing it to the given translation, it is accurate. A more literal translation would be

Once the action of using scissors is completed, please place it in it's original spot.

後で carries a temporal nuance, that is to say that it is concerned with the timing sequence of the events in the sentence. Using あとで would make sense in this situation, but the たら form is preferred since it carries a different nuance.

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