What is the difference when using dake and nara in sentences, and if possible an example sentence for each would be helpful too. Thank you very much. They both mean just if I'm not mistaken. Like if I said I only understand hiragana. ひらがなだけです. Or ひらがなならわかります. Which is better and why

  • 7
    They don't really have anything in common... Do you have an example sentence where you think both mean the same? Sep 4, 2018 at 22:54
  • I guess I understand what topicstarter was asking about. Typical example: 今なら50%引きです。 Logically it should be 'ima dake', however it's 'nara'. この漢字なら読めます - another example.
    – user35839
    Oct 25, 2019 at 14:27

2 Answers 2


I'm going to take a stab at this:

ひらがなだけです。 ([It's] only hiragana.)

ひらがなならわかります。 (If [it's] hiragana, [I] understand.)

They don't exactly mean the same thing, although they can carry the same connotation of the speaker wanting/needing ひらがな in order to understand the topic at hand (although the first phrase might be a little blunt and far-fetched).

Now to your actual question of differences between なら and だけ:

なら is, as @HdcLsh said, a conditional auxiliary. It's used in situations where there is an if-then relationship in the sentence:


If you read that book, you know this.

However, だけ is a separate particle, used to indicate "only" or "simply":


[I] only ate the apple.

Therefore, you can see the drastic difference in the actual definition of those words.


だけ means only, なら is, in the sense I think you're referring to, a conditional verb ending. They do not mean the same thing.

  • Not the down voter - a conditional verb ending: It's more like a sub-sentence end particle (no idea what the official name is). It can come not just after (plain-form) verbs but also after nouns and adjectives, like e.g.: 日曜日なら、大丈夫だ。
    – mic
    Oct 28, 2019 at 15:40

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