I came across the next grammar rule about the use of 場合




It seems to me that when it comes to natural dissasters Japanese language prefers using N+場合 instead of 地震がある場合には・・・ or 地震があった場合には、・・・ for instance.

Therefore, could anyone explain to me whether next sentences are grammatically correct、their meaning and differences?

  1. 地震がある/起きる場合には、電話してください。
  2. 地震があった/起きた場合には、電話してください。
  3. 地震の場合には、電話してください。

Thank you so much in advance!


To follow the first instruction 「地震があ/起き場合には、電話してください」, you would need to know in advance that an earthquake will happen and make a phone call before it strikes, which probably requires some kind of supernatural power.

「津波が来る場合には、電話してください」 may be a valid instruction, though, because a tsunami follows an earthquake with a delay and you may have time to prepare for it before it arrives.

In terms of timing, the other two basically mean the same thing. You would make a phone call after an earthquake has occurred.

This is related: The use of present and past tenses in ~時 sentences


They more or less mean the same. There is a slight nuance which doesn't change the meaning between ある and あった (note that it's not the past tense).

  1. When an earthquake occurs, call me.
  2. When an earthquake occurs, call me.
  3. In case of an earthquake, call me.

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