Why is 建てる in the result clause in the past tense? The answer from What is the correct usage of conditional and hypothetical? indicates that it should not be in the past.

もしも 私が家を建てたなら


3 Answers 3


This is not "past tense" usage, it is rather more related to aspect (in this case whether the speaker considers the action to be complete or incomplete).

The difference between 建てなら as compared to 建てなら in your example could be conveyed through the English subjunctive mood like this:


If I were to build a house, I would build a small house.


If I build a house, I'll build a small one.


Conditional clause: もしも 私が家を建てたなら

Result clause: 小さな家を建てた(でしょう)

These Japanese sentences are natural, and we understand that the speaker didin't (has not) build the small house (or house itself), from the phrae "建てたでしょう"

Yes "建{た}てた" is the past form of the verb "建{た}てる." The past form of a verb is used for the situation went unrealized in Japanese.

「もし僕が君だったら、そんなことはしなかった(でしょう)。」= If I were you, I would not do such a thing.


An easy way to understand that usage of なら would be to see it as an imaginary situation.

建てたなら -> If I was in a situation where I built a house.
小さな家を建てたでしょう -> That house would probably be a small one.

It is a way to convey your thoughts/likes/dislikes.
It basically means that "If I was in situation A, B would be as such because knowing what kind of person I am, I know I wouldn't have had it any other way."

This can be used when reflecting on the decision of someone else.
For your example, it could be that your friend just built a big house, and then you tell him that if you were in his situation(just built a big house), it would be a small one.

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