5

So I have two problems that are difficult to explain about the ~たらいい and ~といい pattern, the first problem is as follows:

I have been reading Susumu Kuno's “The Structure of the Japanese Language”, a book probably too advanced for someone of my reading level. In chapter 15, the book covers the conditional 「と」 particle and the differences between it and 「たら」 and 「なら」. One of the examples (with formatting edits) given is:

(5) “It is pleasant when/if it rains”

a. 雨が降ると気持ちがいい。 ○

b. 雨が降ったら気持ちがいい。 ×

c. 雨が降るなら気持ちがいい。 ×

It then goes on it say:

“Sentence (5a) represents a habitual antecedent-consequent relationship 'I feel refreshed whenever it rains'. Example (5b) is ungrammatical because the time referred to by 「気持ちがいい」 “It is pleasant” syntactically precedes that referred to by 「雨が降ったら」 'If it rains', while in reality it will become pleasant after it has rained. Example (5c) is ungrammatical for the same reason.”

What is meant here is that stative verbals, such as いい, refer to present time whilst non-stative verbals, such as 降る, typically refer to future time.

So I'll take a phrase that I just read a short while ago:

「見つかるといい」 (I hope you find [it]). → 「見つかったらいい」

This website states that ~たらいい is the same as ~といい, but technically this does not make sense according to Kuno's temporal syntactic observation. Is this phrase special for some reason?

My second problem just bugs me, is more of an English language question and comes from literally translating stuff in my head:

「見つかるといい」

If I translate this less literally and then adapt it, I get following phrase “It will be good if you find it” → “It would be good if you find it” →”I hope you find it”. However, If I try to infer the meaning while keeping the word order:

“If you find it, it will be good”

This sentence is grammatical, albeit a little awkward. More importantly, to me, the meaning of “hope that” seems to be lost when this ordering is kept, Is there a reason that, in this case, the meaning is lost in English?

  • That explanation seems off to me, but this problem is really difficult to wrap up. I can't come up with consistent logic. – user4092 Feb 28 '17 at 7:42
0

First, 雨が降ったら気持ちいい is no problem in terms of syntax. However, it could be, in a sense, strange when it stands for a future tense, not a situation where it actually is raining or has just rained, because it means that you find yourself feeling pleasant once it happens to rain.

Practically, …たら is versatile and you can use it instead of …と or …ば, apart from minor nuance.

(Incidentally, it's no problem if it's an assumption like 気持ちいいはず or an expression to persuade other people e.g. 雨降ったら気持ちいいって or …気持ちいいよ?)

雨が降るなら気持ちいい is parallel to the above. It means that you sense physically pleasant if it's supposed to rain, which is somewhat odd. Maybe it could, depending on situations. If it was 気分がいい, it would be fine.

If you find "hope that" more or less off, you can quit thinking so. They are two different things, if close.

0

見つかるといい

is conditional and causal just as 5a). (Antecedent-consequent in that the object being found causes いい.)

For

見つかったらいい

the relationship is condition fulfillment, not direct causation.

More details

The nuance of

雨が降ったら気持ちがいい

is that it's not the rain falling that caused 気持ちがいい.

〜たら here just indicates sequence of conditional events rather than direct causal conditional events.

Likewise 見つかったらいい is also conditional. The act of finding [it] does not directly cause a natural consequence.

More Examples

見つかったらいいな!

見つかる is prerequisite to いいな, but not directly causal.

暇だったら行く

If [I] have time I will go

友達に会えたら、買い物に行きます。

If I can meet my friend we'll go shopping.

友達に会うと、買い物に行きます。

When I meet my friend, we go shopping.


(Some example sentences borrowed/modified from http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/conditionals )

  • Perhaps I misinterpreted your response, but my problem is that (5b) is supposedly wrong, but ~たらいい is fine. So I am wondering if the book is wrong or I have misinterpreted the explanation. My trouble is that the conditionals have nuanced difference in Japanese, where reducing it to the simple explanation I found in most materials does not satisfy me. – Ubz Feb 28 '17 at 12:00
  • Sorry if the answer was confusing for you. I clarified and made some updates, let me know if that helps at all. – virgil9306 Mar 1 '17 at 2:45
  • Why the downvote? – virgil9306 Mar 16 '17 at 4:22

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.