1

The following sentences are ば conditional sentences, with combinations of action/state verb and same/different subjects. Which of these are correct / wrong, and why?

I have not received satisfactory answers about this question for quite a while, and have decided to post 6 sentences which I feel will help form a better hypothesis on how to use ば. I am willing to offer some credit (at least 200 rep) to a very clear explanation. I understand that clear rules are hard to come by in language, so I do appreciate whatever research goes into an answer.


Volition


1 Action verb + same subject
(私が)卒業すれば、(私が)彼女と結婚するつもりです。

2 State verb + different subjects
彼女が希望すれば、(私が)彼女と結婚するつもりです。

3 State verb + same subject
(私が)卒業できれば、(私が)彼女と結婚するつもりです。

4 Action verb + different subjects
彼女が卒業すれば、(私が)彼女と結婚するつもりです。

Sentence 1 was said to be wrong while sentence 2 was said to be correct by my teacher.


Requests


5 田中: 山下さんが来られれば(山下さんが)知らせてください
山下: はい

6 田中: 山下さんが来られれば(竹内さんが)知らせてください
竹内: はい

Edit: In both cases, 来られれば is in potential and conditional form.

  • Not much to do with your question, but there is a big particle problem in the first four sentences and a logic + particle problems in #5. – l'électeur Feb 14 '17 at 13:55
  • sorry - could you elaborate on these problems please? – rhyaeris Feb 14 '17 at 15:53
  • Is the られれ in #5 and #6 honorific or potential? (honorificだろうな~と思いつつ。。) – Chocolate Feb 15 '17 at 8:39
  • He must have meant potential because the sentence would be ungrammatical if it's honorific. – user4092 Feb 15 '17 at 9:16
  • Ah, I meant potential. Sorry about that. – rhyaeris Feb 15 '17 at 23:45
1
+200

見たければ見なさい = もし、あなたが見たければ、「(あなたが)見なさい」と私は許可します(私は命令します)。

is correct although the target of the observation is the subject of the main clause (like in sentence 5). Could you explain why this sentence is correct and sentence 5 is wrong?

Who is the observer of the conditional clause "(あなたが)見たければ(If you'd like to see it.)" ? Strictly speaking, I(私) don't care whether you(あなた) want to see it or not. On the other hand, you know (=you off course can observe wheter you want to do or not.) Then the observer of this consitonal clause is "you".

Main clause of this sentence is an imperative sentence, so the subject of main clause is "私(I)."

Thus the subject of conditional clause and main clause are differnet.


Sentence 2 (in my question), as you have said, is okay. However the sentence with 彼女が希望すれば、彼女は。。。つもりです may sound unnatural for a different reason, that つもり isn't really used for other people. So I am not totally convinced that it is unnatural because of a wrong use of ば... What do you think of sentences 3 and 4 in my question, which use 私。。。つもりです。

2 State verb + different subjects 彼女が希望すれば、(私が)彼女と結婚するつもりです。

I observe whethre she wants to marry me or not, and if I get to be aware that she wants to marry me, then I'll marry her.

This sentence is natural.

However the following is unnatural. 彼女が希望すれば、彼女は私と結婚するつもりです。 This is unnatural.

If the sentence is "彼女は私と結婚するつもりです。そのように彼女は希望しています。", then this sentence is natural.

In short, the main clause "彼女は私と結婚するつもりだ" depends on the conditional clause "彼女が希望すれば". If the conditional clause"彼女が希望すれば" is true, then the main clause "彼女は私と結婚するつもりだ" get to be active (by the subject of the main clause.) So If you can control wheter the conditional clause get to be true or not, "if-then" sentence doesn't make sense.

I'm now aware that this matter doesn't only depnds on the grammer but the meaning (whether it make sense or not).

3 State verb + same subject (私が)卒業できれば、(私が)彼女と結婚するつもりです。=私が卒業できれば、私は彼女と結婚します。 In this context, "結婚するつもりです" is equal to "結婚します," even "結婚します" shows strong will than "結婚するつもりです。"

4 Action verb + different subjects 彼女が卒業すれば、(私が)彼女と結婚するつもりです。

OK


I have never been a Japanese language teacher but I've been an engineer for fourty years. I analized this issue as the following way.

The sentence No5 is somewhat unnatural.

5 田中: 山下さんが来られれば、(山下さんが)知らせてください
山下: はい

5-improved, natural 田中:山下さんが来られるのであれば、(山下さんが)私に知らせてください。 山下: はい

So we have to focus on the phrase "山下さんが来られれば.=山下さんが来られる(action)のであれば、or 山下さんが来られた(state)のであれば"

"山下さんが来られる(action)のであれば"="If 山下さん comes here", "(山下さんが)私に知らせてください。" = "let me know it" is natural.

I think there could be the following rule.

1) The observer of the conditional clause is A.
2) The subject of the conditional clause is B.
3) The verb of the conditional clause is a state verb. (Thus the observer is necessary.)
4) The subject of the main clause is A.
5) If the subject of the main clause (A) is equal to the subject of the conditional clause (B), the sentence is unnatural, wrong.

彼女(B)が希望すれば(the observer of this conditional clause is 私(A))、私(A)は彼女と結婚するつもりです。
This sentence is OK.

彼女(B)が希望すれば(the observer of this conditional clause is A)、彼女(B)は私(A)と結婚するつもりです。
This sentence is unnatural and terrible!

Example No.5

5 "山下さんが来られれば(山下さんが)知らせてください" is unnatural or wrong.

"山下さんが来られれば" The subject of this conditional clause is 山下さん, and the observer of this conditional clause is 田中 (not 山下さん who is the terget of this observation.)、
"来られれば" is somewhat ambiguous, but if a reader feels that it means "come into the picture" or "appear on the scene," then it is semantically the state verb. Then here the target of A's observation (or the sabject of condition clause with state verb) is the subject of main clause, it's unnatural (or wrong).

"(山下さんが)知らせてください。" ="Hey Mr.Yamashita! Let me know it!" The (semantical) subject of main clause is 山下さん.

Then totally No.5 is unnatural.


EXAMPLE NO.6

6 田中: 山下さんが来られれば(竹内さんが)知らせてください
竹内: はい
For me, this one is OK.

It can be improved as the following.

6-improved 田中:山下さんが会場に来られたら、(竹内さんが私に)知らせてください。
竹内: はい

  • 山下さんが来れられた(state)のであれば is a typo for 来られたのであれば, right? – Chocolate Feb 15 '17 at 8:49
  • @Sonny365 TANAKA Thank you for taking the time to write all this :) as I suspected, different sources have different opinions, and I'm trying to understand these opinions. For example, A Basic Dictionary of Japanese Grammar says that 見たければ見なさい is correct although the target of the observation is the subject of the main clause (like in sentence 5). Could you explain why this sentence is correct and sentence 5 is wrong? – rhyaeris Feb 15 '17 at 14:06
  • @Sonny365 TANAKA Sentence 2 (in my question), as you have said, is okay. However the sentence with 彼女が希望すれば、彼女は。。。つもりです may sound unnatural for a different reason, that つもり isn't really used for other people. So I am not totally convinced that it is unnatural because of a wrong use of ば... What do you think of sentences 3 and 4 in my question, which use 私。。。つもりです。 ? – rhyaeris Feb 16 '17 at 2:55
  • @Sonny365 TANAKA Thank you for your patience, and a very clear, detailed answer. I have formed a comfortable hypothesis with the valuable information provided here. – rhyaeris Feb 19 '17 at 16:05
1

You can't use …すれば when both of the conditional clause, (edit) which is not static, and the main clause stand for series of consistent intentional actions by the same agent, or when the conditional clause is not static and the main clause is imperative.

  • (自分が)5時までいれば 買うつもり ○ 
  • 大人になれば 買うつもり ○
  • 店に行けば 買うつもり ×
  • 来れば 知らせてくれ ×

Among your examples, the only one that can violate the restriction is #1 (私が)卒業すれば、(私が)彼女と結婚するつもりです. (However, this happens to be a bad example for demonstrative purpose because it's not impossible to consider 卒業する something that will be realized by time lapse, not by will, which makes the problem unnecessarily complicated.)

Potential verbs stand for a state or a condition, rather than an action. So, 来られれば or できれば are no problem.

  • Thank you for your detailed answer. I didn't notice 卒業する could lead to that nuance; thanks for pointing that out! But that aside? I take it that you mean all 6 examples, except for the first, are acceptable. However, A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (p82) says that sentence 5/6 is incorrect. I will edit my question to elaborate. If it is correct, could you explain why it can be seen to be wrong? – rhyaeris Feb 16 '17 at 3:03
  • Do you mean #1 is wrong because of consistent intentional actions, or because the conditional clause is not static and the main clause (つもりです) is imperative? – rhyaeris Feb 16 '17 at 3:33
  • (1) I can't explain why that book says it's wrong because I don't know how that book explains it. As Sonny365TANAKA says, it's more natural to rephrase #5/6 as 来られるなら but I don't think 来られれば is so wrong to be ungrammatical. – user4092 Feb 16 '17 at 7:22
  • Do that book exactly says 来られれば is wrong? Or is that your interpretation? – user4092 Feb 16 '17 at 7:27
  • My apologies, I mixed up the two verbs. Then there is no contradiction. Will cancel the second note. Thank you for your reply! – rhyaeris Feb 16 '17 at 7:33

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