Sentence taken from this question

"Yeah, right. I , too, was thinking that it would (probably) be just as good to keep it as to throw it away." (translation thanks to l'electeur)

I'm more interested in the part in bold. I'm very confused by this double conditional construction AならBたらどうかしら. Literally I'd translate this as "If you were to end up throwing it away, I wonder how it would be if you kept hold of it". Whilst my translation is clearly gibberish, I can see how it might turn into the good translation, but only because I've seen the good translation. I certainly couldn't have worked that out for myself.

Could you provide some clarification (perhaps with simpler examples) on how to parse this sentence and on how the grammar works here?

  • I think you can change “how it would be” to “what if”.
    – user25382
    Nov 26, 2017 at 15:35
  • Actually I think I might be overthinking this. I guess the first なら implies "because you have told me that you'll throw it away", then the rest of the sentence follows naturally. Some confirmation of my understanding would be helpful though. Nov 26, 2017 at 15:51
  • 1
    @kimiTanaka Thanks, but I don't think that change affects how I would understand the sentence. Nov 26, 2017 at 15:53
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    ^ "You had better do~~" って、「~~したらどうか」よりかなりきついです。should より強くって、提案・マイルドなアドバイスというより、通常目下の人に使う警告・命令って感じです。日本の高校英語などで単純に「had better=した方がいいよ」とだけ習ったとしたらちょっと間違ってます。
    – chocolate
    Nov 26, 2017 at 23:57
  • その話は何回も読んで知っていますが、そうとも限らないと私は思っています。例えばhttps://forum.wordreference.com/threads/had-better-should-must.3166286/
    – user1118
    Nov 27, 2017 at 2:02

1 Answer 1



In the original question, only one sentence was given without further context, which was all good because the question was about the usage of the 「って」.

I added my translation only as an extra service, so I did not explain anything about the construct in question.

The situation I had in mind was one in which someone, possibly the speaker herself, had originally decided to throw away or at least leaned toward throwing away an object, but its owner (again, possibly the speaker herself) is now leaning toward keeping it instead.

Assuming that that is what is happening, this 「なら」 would actually be closer to "rather than" in meaning and nuance than pure conditional. What I mean by this is that 「捨ててしまうんなら」 would be synonymous to 「捨ててしまうくらいなら」.

「A + くらいなら + B」 means "B rather than A". Thus, this person is saying that 「取っておく」 might even be a better option than to 「捨ててしまう」. Thus, the speaker is making the suggestion of "how about keeping it" to herself or another person.

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