In Akutagawa Ryuunosuke's "藪の中" the wandering monk tells about the man who was killed:


The translation is:

The man? No, he wore a sword but had also bow and arrows equipped.

What I don't get is the meaning of おれば the polite "conditional" form of いる. I have read in several posts how the ~ば conditional can be used: here, many details, here and here. Unfortunately, I am not able to make work any of those explanations with the sentence in question.

In my opinion, the closest way to still use a conditional form and meet the translated meaning of the sentence would be なら as in the second item なら-explanation by Derek in here: "while/with" wearing a sword he also wore a bow.

The only other explanation would be, because the monk was obviously interrupted by the questioner as can be deduced from: 男{おとこ}は、―いえ... that the questioner asked something like "Did the man have no sword?" (because the man's sword is taken taken away and disposed of by Tajoumaru) Unfortunately this question must be inferred by the reader, it's not in the story. Still, how would a ~ば-conditional figure in a reply to such a question?

Thanks a lot!


1 Answer 1


This might shock you, but the sooner the better.

Where did you learn that this particular 「ば」 was conditional? It is not. You would never get to understand this sentence if you blindly believed that the 「ば」 was conditional.

Take a close look at the particles in bold in:

「​太刀 {たち} ​も​帯 {お} ​びておれ、​弓矢 {ゆみや} ​も​携 {たずさ} ​えておりました。 」

That is the famous も-ば-も pattern. Still no clue?

「Noun A + + Verb/Adjective + ば/なら + Noun B + + Word/Phrase」

This common construct is used to enumerate things. It means:

"not only A but also B"

Thus, the translation is a good one.

Here is what デジタル大辞泉 says about the usage/meaning:

3 ㋐(口語{こうご}で仮定形{かていけい}に付{つ}いて)共存{きょうぞん}する事柄{ことがら}を並列{へいれつ}・列挙{れっきょ}する意{い}を表{あらわ}す。



  • thanks for shocking me ;-) This construction was not included in my japanese grammar books. But at least my idea with なら was not too far off the mark
    – Quit007
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 12:18

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