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Reading a manga I stumbled upon this sentence:

名前書いたら帰る (I will write my name and I will go home)

I was a bit confused because of the conditional たら, so I tried to made up a sentence to later ask a native speaker:

シャワーを浴びたら公園に行く (I want to say: "I will take a shower and I will go to the park")

So, it uses the same grammar as in the manga I read. But when I asked my friend, he said that the sentence: シャワーを浴びて公園に行く sounds more natural than the one I made.

What it's the difference between those two sentences? Is there any special rule about describing consecutive actions by using the conditional form?

Thanks you very much.

  • 2
    I just asked one of my Japanese co-workers and he said that both 浴びたら and 浴びて sound normal. He said that he would say 浴びたら. From our conversation it seems that using 〜たら puts more emphasis on "after something is finished". – Leo Jul 14 '16 at 4:00
  • 「AしたらBする」 literally means "If I do A, I'll do B", but we often use it to mean "I will/need to do A before I do B (So please wait for me to finish A)" – Chocolate Jul 14 '16 at 4:02
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「シャワーを[浴]{あ}びたら[公園]{こうえん}に[行]{い}く。」

is completely correct and very natural despite what your friend said. 「たら」 is used that way all the time among us native speakers. The nuance of that sentence is that you know you will be going to the park pretty soon, but you just want to take a shower first.

Nuance-wise, it is not as if taking a shower were the important "condition" for you to go to the park. In other words, this is fairly different from saying "If A, then B." both in meaning and feeling.

「たら」 is only "fully conditional" both in name and form when used in sentences such as:

「[雨]{あめ}が[降]{ふ}ったら、[明日]{あす}のピクニックは[中止]{ちゅうし}になります。」(If it rains, tomorrow's picnic will be canceled.)

「そんなにお[菓子]{かし}ばかり[食]{た}べてたら、[太]{ふと}るわよ。」(You will get fat if you keep eating snacks like that.)

I am sure that you could "feel" the difference in the use of 「たら」 between those two sentences and the sentence in question about showering and going to the park.

If the sentence in question had been:

「シャワーを浴びたら、公園に行ってもいいわよ。」

it would have been a full-fledged conditional sentence because it would then have meant "You may go to the park only if you take a shower first." A mother might say that to her kid.

Regarding the other sentence in question,

「シャワーを浴び公園に行く。」

is certainly grammatical and "okay", but it is not necessarily more natural than the first sentence using 「たら」.

To my Japanese ears at least, that is a very character-less sentence. It is close to memo-writing in feeling -- "Will do A and B.".

It would be considerably more natural for a native speaker to say:

「シャワーを浴びてから公園に行く。」

if one wanted to imply that the order of the two actions happening is of some importance.

The te-form in general is useful, but it would help Japanese-learners to produce more natural-sounding sentences if they learned to use 「~~てから」、「~~て、それから」 instead of just using 「~~て」 in describing the order of consecutive actions.

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V1+たら+V2: is used for "After doing V1, I'll do V2" or "When I do V1, I'll do V2"

Therefore you can translate the following sentences as:

名前書いたら帰る - When I write my name, I'll go home.

シャワーを浴びたら公園に行く - After I shower, I'll go to the park.


This is contrasted to V1 (て-form) + V2 which is used as "I'll do V1 and (then) do V2",

名前を書いて帰る I'll write my name and (then) go home.

シャワーを浴びて公園に行く - I will shower and (then) go to the park.

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    The problem with phrasing it using "after" is that the meaning is very similar to "I'll do A and then B". I think "when" or "if" conveys the nuance better. – Locksleyu Jul 13 '16 at 23:29
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したら is considered a conditional and can have the nuance "if X then Y", which can imply that X may not happen. So your second sentence would sound something like one of these two:

 If I take a shower, I will go to the park.
 When I take a shower, I will go to the park.

Using the plain 〜て form more accurately describes two or more sequential actions, and you can use 〜てから to explicitly state these things are done one after another, with no overlap.

Because of this your friend's sentence is much more natural for what you want to say.

The 〜たら has some complex nuances, however. For details, you can see an article here I wrote about it.

  • It lacks context, but can we really view "名前書いたら帰る" as being an "if" statement? Inevitably he will at some point 帰る, right? So the emphasis seems to be less "if", but "when" he writes his name, in this case. Which would be similar to the shower example, no? – Ciaran Jul 13 '16 at 19:27
  • "explicitly imply" ? 笑 – oals Jul 13 '16 at 19:33
  • @Ciaran: I agree, and if you want to say "I'll go home after I write my name", then I think したら is well fitting. – Locksleyu Jul 13 '16 at 23:26
  • @oals: agreed the wording there is awkward (: I adjusted it. – Locksleyu Jul 13 '16 at 23:27
  • @Ciaran: Yes, I agree that in this case it is closer to "when". But I was just saying in general that "したら" can also have the nuance of "if" – Locksleyu Jul 18 '16 at 14:57

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