The usage of ば is complicated.

If volition / request / etc is involved, the sentence is invalid, unless there are special conditions fulfilled (addressed after this example):

X 卒業すれば、彼女と結婚するつもりです。(volitional structure つもりです)

Usage of such volitional structures is allowed under two circumstances:

  1. If the subjects (主語) of the two sentences are different:

O 彼女が希望すれば、彼女と結婚するつもりです。(subjects are 彼女 and わたし (implied))

  1. If the verb is not an action verb (adjective, stative verb, etc):

O わからないことがあれば、わたしにきいてください。(あれば stative verb, as it expresses the state of being)

O 質問があれば、(あなたが)聞いてください。(あれば stative verb)

These two conditions can be found in various materials, such as the top answer to the question in this link.

"The main clause must be a constant non-volitional reaction to the conditional clause unless the conditional clause shows state or if the subjects of the two clauses differ."

This much information can be found in various materials. However, I noticed that when rule 2 applies, the subjects are often automatically different (i.e. rule 1 is applied too). What if adjectives / stative verbs are used when the subjects are the same? (note: example sentence below has been edited from 声をかけてください)

? (あなたが)そこにいれば、(あなたが)何か言ってください。(eg. when on the phone)

? (あなたが)そんなに悲しければ、(あなたが)帰ってください。

? (あなたが)ひまであれば/なら、(あなたが)てつだってください。

  • The sentence you are asking the question about seems really odd to me. Did you mean something like "If you are there, say something"? In that case, perhaps あそこ → そこ and 話して → 声をかけて would be better.
    – oals
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 20:42
  • Yes, that's what I mean. Thanks, I've edited the question.
    – rhyaeris
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 2:18
  • FWIW, I was imagining some kind of a dark room or place when I made the suggestion which now that I think of it, is a pretty odd situation (especially as it currently sort of implies that you know who is there). It's possible that I made your sentence more unnatural. If you were thinking of someone being silent on a phone, 何か言ってください could work.
    – oals
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 4:12
  • @oals I was imagining a dark room too, actually... but I'll take your suggestion
    – rhyaeris
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 10:44

1 Answer 1


Edit: I now doubt my answer is correct. (Never mind)

In the first place, the explanation above seems not accurate to me. The reason why わからないことがあれば、わたしにきいてください is accepted is not because the predicate is static or whatever but because わからないことがある is not a volitional action of the same subject of the main clause. So, when static verbs are used when the subjects are the same as you ask, it can be still ungrammatical as long as the verbs stand for a volitional action. In this regard, そこにいる is done at your will, so (あなたが)そこにいれば、(あなたが)声をかけてください is odd.

On the other hand, 悲しければ帰ってくれ and ひまであれば手伝ってくれ are fine because 悲しい and 暇である are not your volitional action.

In summary, this structure doesn't work when both the conditional clause and the main clause are penetrated with volition by the same agent.

  • Does that mean that condition 2 is invalid? Is condition 1 (different subjects) the only consideration?
    – rhyaeris
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 11:02
  • The examples in the condition 2 are indeed valid but the reason why they're accepted is different.
    – user4092
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 12:35
  • hmm... could you explain how そこにいる is done at the speaker's will and 悲しい and 暇である are not? To me, these three cases are the listener's states, and exist independently of the speaker... what if in the first case, the listener is the one who initiated the phone call (not by will of speaker), but then suddenly stopped talking? the speaker would then say そこにいれば...
    – rhyaeris
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 15:45
  • In that case, you say そこにいるなら.
    – user4092
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 3:44

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