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The following quote is from this article.

神苑にこれほどの梅が植えられたのも、そんなふうに訪れる人々の憩いになればという思いから。

I wonder what になれば means here. What value does it bring over having simply になる?

4

I think using なれば rather than なる in your example shows that there is a wish or hope that planting such plum trees will contribute to the relaxation of the visitors.

English has a similar way of using a conditional expression to express a wish or hope. For example...

  • "If you wouldn't mind taking that poster off the wall."
  • "Yeah, if you could just get me some cereal at the store."
  • "If I could just have a moment of your time, sir."

In Japanese an expression with ~ば + と思{おも}う is common. For example...

  • ご利用{りよう}になればと思います。 (I hope you will use it)
  • ご記入{きにゅう}いただければと思います。 (If you could just fill this in for me)
  • 次週{じしゅう}ご来場{らいじょう}いただければと思います。 (If we could have you could come to our location next week)

The meaning of these examples can change significantly if you remove the ~ば construction.

  • ご利用になると思います。 (I think you will use it)
  • ご記入いただくと思います。 (I think he will fill it in for us)
  • 次週ご来場いただくと思います。 (I think they will be coming to our location next week)

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