In a novel I encountered a question that consists only from a 〜ば conditional. The speaker doesn’t want to go downstairs and is suggesting someone else to do that for him:


The meaning is quite clear from the context and I’d translate it like “Maybe you could go there?” or similar.

Still I can’t figure out why does it convey this meaning. The sentence looks like an ellipse to me, where the second part is missing and only the 〜ば part remains. But what is the other part? Which meaning of the 〜ば conjunction is the one here?

1 Answer 1


This is probably a casual suggestion rather than a question, "Why don't you go downstairs?" Depending on the context, it may sound like an indifferent permission, "(Do as you like,) I don't mind if you go downstairs." This is a very common pattern you should memorize, but the full sentence would be something like "降りればいいんじゃない(の)(か)?" (literally "It's okay if you go downstairs, isn't it?")

Of course the same sentence can sometimes work as a simple question, "What if I go downstairs?"

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