3

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?


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.

5
  • 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. 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
3
+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 whether you want to do or not.) Then the observer of this conditional 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 different.


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 whether 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 whether the conditional clause gets to be true or not, "if-then" sentence doesn't make sense.

I'm now aware that this matter doesn't only depend on the grammar 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 forty years. I analyzed 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 subject 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

4
  • 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.

7
  • 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
1

Because there are intentional actions and states, we get 4 possible combinations to make a sentence:

  • (unvolitional)(unvolitional) describes some natural occurrence. For example, "when spring comes, sakura blooms". There is no intentional element in neither of these two.
  • (volitional)(unvolitional) describes how our intentional action brings some result. For example, "If you go now, you will be in time".
  • (unvolitional)(volitional) is the same, but in reverse. Some state results in intentional action. For example, "If you want, do it". Wanting something is not intentional action, it's a natural reaction on something. For example, if I'm hungry and see an apple, I can get a desire to eat it.
  • (volitional)(volitional) describes our planning, general regulations and so on. For example, "If/when you drink, do not drive".

You can notice these combinations describe different types of situations starting from something that happens naturally into our involvement with reaction on that and finally into completely controllable actions.

と connects 2 units and it's most natural in general conditions which always happen. In other situations it becomes a little bit weird like A(it's tasty), B(eat it). It's not always like that, we shouldn't eat everything just because it's tasty and even if it's not tasty, we might eat it due to some reasons like hunger or politeness. Such direct connection with と looks weird and thus such situations involving volition don't fit it. Only the first combination works with it.

On the other hand, ば is a true conditional form, which fits many situations. However, if we look at two intentional actions, then it's quite specific situation. 2nd and 3rd combinations are based on some natural chance out of our control. The difference between 2-3 and 4 lays in the placement of probability. Such sentence like "if you want, I will buy apples" splits sentence itself into "you want - I will buy", "you don't want - I won't buy". The only part we do is buying and it's based on some factor, in this case on a wish of other person. On the other hand, sentence like "If I will go to a market, I will buy apples" has probability on the occurrence in the future itself. We can rephrase it into something like "Probably/maybe/surely I will go to a market and buy apples". We can also push it to the extreme and make it 100% chance like "When it's 8AM, I will go". There is no any "if" here. Such way we can clearly see using two intentional actions shifts it from requirements (condition) to more factual probability of occurrence. It's quite hard to say if it's still a condition, it probably is. But it's definitely not a requirement and ば doesn't involve such usage. Thus ば is used with 1-3, but not 4. And たら is the most universal form, which is used in all 4 combinations.

That's why your teacher said №1 is wrong. Both graduation and intention to marry are controllable and thus condition lays in our volition to do it. Because we are willing, we most probably will do so in the future. On the other hand sentence №2 is absolutely fine, because her wish is a requirement for us to do it. We do not want to do it if she isn't willing.

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