From having taken a break, I have a lot of stuff to do.



Just from following down one step, the next difficult problem awaits.

What is going on here with this pattern and usage of で?

  1. Usage of で. I know that で is following a clause, not a noun, but does it have any relationship with the "within-the-bounds-of" meaning of で? Perhaps there's an implicit nominalizing の before the で that's being dropped? Or is this で the て-form of だ? Or is it just a completely separate particle with no connection whatsoever with these other two things?
  2. Repeating verbs. The overall structural pattern here is (verb-たら) + (verb-past tense) + で. Why is the verb repeated twice in a row? And why must the second instance be in the past tense?

1 Answer 1


The basic meaning of this construction is well covered in another answer, so let me focus on what's directly asked in the two questions.

  1. Usage of で: At least one dictionary explains this as a rare conjunctive-particle-like usage of で as a "scope/condition" particle. It's not uncommon for a particle to exceptionally take the dictionary form of a verb in certain constructions and set phrases (eg 察するに, 見るからに, やるにはやるが, 飲んだは良いが, 目指すは). At least some of them are related to so-called zero-nominalization or 連体形 as a noun, but I'm not sure if this is also an example of it. Practically speaking, I think it's best to memorize this as a pattern.

  2. Repeating verbs: This pattern carries a sense of "what's done is done (and can be forgotten, but...)" or "if you did it, you did it (and that's the end of it, but...)". This pattern implies that another important issue will soon follow.

  • Thanks for your response. Do you know why the second repeated verb is in the past tense? The best explanation I can think of is that it emphasizes the finality of the possibility in question. Something like: "well, if it were to happen, then it would have had happened; either way, ...". Under this interpretation, I'm also tempted to link the usage of で after the past-tense form to the て-form of the だ particle. So putting this all together, a phrase like 「したらしたで...」 could be more literally translated as "if you did it, then it would be the case that you did it; either way, ...".
    – George
    Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 22:51
  • 1
    @George I think this た is not past but perfective, as in 駅に着い時に電話してください ("Call me when you arrive at the station").
    – naruto
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 2:49
  • I just came across a similar pattern: 「部屋が広ければ広いで掃除機なんか結構時間がかかります」. In this sentence, ~ければ (instead of ~たら) is being used, and 広い (in the non-past tense) precedes で (instead of in the perfective tense as above). Do you know why the verb is in the non-past tense here? Is it to emphasize how once your house is big, you're going to stuck with it in the future (something like "well if your house is big, it'll be forever big (into the future)..., which means it'll be hard to clean")?
    – George
    Commented Feb 16, 2023 at 6:37

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