This might be a common question but I really don't understand. I have searched a lot of websites but... I end up here. The facts that I know (can be wrong) :

  • ば focuses on the condition and cannot be used with instruction, permission, and command.

  • たら focuses on the result, can be used freely, and implies a completed action. It can also be used for unexpected situation and can mean when.

The one that make me confused is the focusing differences of the condition(ば) and the result(たら). How to know if a conditional phrase focuses on the condition or the result?

In these sentences, should it better be ば or たら?

A:レストランに行かない? B:時間があれば行くよ. For this I choose ば because it is the decider.

A:頑張って! B:私の勝ちだったら付き合ってください! For this I choose たら because the result is introduced and prioritized.

To be honest I just used my feeling to explain the reason because I can not use the words. Giving links to a website will not help. But again answers will be fully appreciated.

  • 1
    Can you use some paragraphs to make your question better readable?
    – Rathony
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 17:13

2 Answers 2


For たら you can find a pretty good starting point here and here. The same page offers some good info for ば here. You may also want to save that page for future references as it offers good lessons on a wide variety of grammar topics. Hope it helps mate.


According to "A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar", page 82:

S1 ば S2 represents a conditional relationship:
If S1 then S2.

S2 can be a command, request or suggestion. In this case, however, S1 cannot be an action.

CORRECT: 山本さんが来たら、知らせて下さい。
WRONG: 山本さんが来れば、知らせて下さい。
If Mr. Yamamoto comes in, please let me know.

CORRECT: シカゴへ行くなら、バスで行ったらどうですか。
WRONG: シカゴへ行けば、バスで行ったらどうですか。
If you go to Chicago, why don't you go by bus?

According to "A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar", page 452:
S1 たら S2 indicates that S2 takes place after S1.

WRONG: 私はシカゴへ行ったら、たいてい車で行きます。
CORRECT: 私はシカゴへ行く時、たいてい車で行きます。
When I go to Chicago, I usually go by car.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .