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I'm just wondering if できれば・できたら at the beginning of a sentence has any difference in nuance?

My thought is more:

できれば: if such a thing is possible

できたら: when you are free to do it (like a Spanish "Cuando pueda")

But I tend to read too much into things :-)

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2 Answers 2

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I'm just wondering if できれば・できたら at the beginning of a sentence has any difference in nuance?

In real life they're interchangeable.

But I tend to read too much into things :-)

Well, you asked for it... actually there are subtle differences technically speaking.

できたら = "If such thing was to be accomplished"

When you shout "できた!" it means "I have done it!" so it's past tense. That's why できたら assumes the future where you have reached できた (completion).


できれば = "If such thing can be attempted"

When you shout "できる!" it means "I'm confident I can do it!". So by saying できる, you're already "assuming the future state of completion". できれば means you are "assuming the case that you are assuming the future state of completion". Sorry for the confusing explanation...


as used at the beginning of a sentence, usually

If I may break that condition and use the words at the middle of a sentence...

  • タスクA1はできますか?。それが「できれば」タスクA2ができます。
  • タスクB1はできますか?。それが「できたら」タスクB2ができます。

I would interpret as follows: top sentence is focused on feasibility of completing task A1, and bottom sentence is focused on moving on to task B2. But this is just my interpretation so I may be thinking too much like you. I hope comments can correct me if I missed something.

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Sort of. I think you might be reading a bit too much into it. できれば has a bit more formal tone, but the meaning is the same and they can be used interchangeably.

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