Japanese Grammar Bank


In this article, we’ll go over the most common ways to express “if” in Japanese and provide examples to help you understand how to use them.

There are several ways to say if in Japanese, each slightly different from the other.


The most common way to express “if” in Japanese is to use the conditional form, ば (ba).

This is used for concrete situations (see the examples to get a feel for this).


Verb + ば

To make the ば ba form of a Japanese verb, follow these steps:

  • If the verb is a る ru-verb, remove the final る ru and replace it with れば reba.
    • Example: 寝る neru → 寝れば nereba
  • If the verb is an う u-verb, change the final vowel of the verb and then add ば.
    • To determine which vowel to change it to, first check the verb to see what consonant its final syllable begins with.
    • Then, find the えe ending version of that syllable.
    • Replace the final syllable of the verb with the resulting syllable and add ば.
    • For example, 飲む nomu→ 飲めば nomeba.


  • Verbs ending with just the vowel う(u) will end with えば (eba) in the ば (ba) form
    • 買う (kau)  → 買えば (kaeba)
  • Verbs ending with つ (tsu) will end with てば (teba) in ば (ba) form
    • 立つ (tatsu) → 立てば (tateba).
  • The two irregular verbs する suru and 来る kuru conjugate as follows:
    • する → すれば (sureba)
    • 来る → 来れば( kureba)

Let’s have a look at this example:

Moshi kateba, chiimu wa junkesshou ni susumu.


If we win, the team will advance to the semi-finals.
View More Examples:
早く起きれば、もっと勉強できる。Hayaku okireba, motto benkyou dekiru.If I wake up early, I can study more.
日本に行け、寿司が食べられます。Nihon ni ikeba, sushi ga taberaremasu.If you go to Japan, you can eat sushi.
天気が良ければ、ピクニックに行きます。Tenki ga yokereba, pikunikku ni ikimasu.If the weather is nice, we’ll go on a picnic.
彼女に会えば、彼女の誕生日プレゼントを渡します。Kanojo ni aeba, kanojo no tanjoubi purezento o watashimasu.If I see her, I’ll give her a birthday present.


The conjunction と (to) can also be used to express “if” in Japanese.

It is used to express natural consequences of things.

You just add と after the verb, be it positive or negative:


Verb + と

Kono shigoto ga owaranakereba, konban asobenai to omoimasu.


If I don’t finish this work, I don’t think I can go out tonight.
View More Examples:
明日雨が降る困る。Ashita ame ga furu to komaru.If it rains tomorrow, I’ll be in trouble.
もし時間があれば、私たちは映画を見に行くつもりです。Moshi jikan ga areba, watashitachi wa eiga o mi ni iku tsumori desu.If we have time, we plan to go watch a movie.
車を買う、毎月の支払いが増える。Kuruma o kau to, maitsuki no shiharai ga fueru.If I buy a car, my monthly payments will increase.
日本に行く、寿司を食べたいです。Nihon ni iku to, sushi o tabetai desu.If I go to Japan, I want to eat sushi.


The particle なら (nara) can be used to express “if” in Japanese.

It is often used to express a hypothetical situation or a condition that must be met.

Simply add it after a positive or negative verb.


Verb + なら

Kanojo ga konai nara, watashitachi wa saki ni shuppatsu shimashou.


If she doesn’t come, let’s leave ahead of time.
View More Examples:
日本に行くなら、寿司を食べてみよう。Nihon ni iku nara, sushi wo tabete miyou.If you go to Japan, try eating sushi.
明日雨が降るなら、家で過ごそう。Ashita ame ga furu nara, ie de sugosou.If it rains tomorrow, let’s spend the day at home.
買い物をするなら、スーパーに行こう。Kaimono wo suru nara, suupaa ni ikou.If we’re going shopping, let’s go to the supermarket.


The particle たら (tara) is another way to express “if” in Japanese.

This is used to describe hypothetical or speculative situations, rather than concrete or real ones. It’s often used in informal language.

The way to make this form is to make the た form and add ら for verbs.

  • For i-adjectives you should conjugate them to the past tense and add ら
  • For na-adjectives and nouns, add だったら (dattara)
    • you can add でしたら (deshitara) to be more formal

For the negative form

It’s easy:

  • Make the ない form of the verb
  • Chop off the い
  • Add かったら (kattara)

The same applies for i-adjectives.

For na-adjectives and nouns, put じゃなかったら (janakattara) after it . You can use ではなかったら (dewa nakattara) if you want to be formal.

Shiken ni goukaku shitara, ryokou ni iku tsumori desu.


If I pass the exam, I intend to go on a trip.
View More Examples:
寝坊したら、遅刻する。Neboushita ra, chikoku suru.If I oversleep, I will be late.
雨が降ったら、傘を持って行きます。Ame ga futtara, kasa o motte ikimasu.If it rains, I will bring an umbrella.
病気になったら、病院に行きます。Byouki ni nattara, byouin ni ikimasu.If I get sick, I will go to the hospital.
日本に行ったら、寿司を食べたいです。Nihon ni ittara, sushi o tabetai desu.If I go to Japan, I want to eat sushi.

You can also use たら (tara) to explain something that already happened: “When X happened Y happened.”

私が学校から帰ったら、知らない犬が家の中にいた。Watashi ga gakkou kara kaettara, shiranai inu ga ie no naka ni ita.When I came home from school, there was a strange dog in the house.
コンビニに行ったら、心美ちゃんに偶然会った。Konbini ni ittara, Kokomi-chan ni guuzen atta.When I went to the convenience store, I accidentally met Kokomi.


The word もし (moshi) means “if” and adds uncertainty to the condition.

It’s used to make an invitation or express uncertainty.

One of the conditionals discussed above must be used to state the condition. 

もしよかったら、映画を観に行きますか?Moshi yokattara, eiga wo mi ni ikimasu ka?If it’s okay with you, would you like to go watch a movie?
時間がないなら、明日でもいいよ。Jikan ga nai nara, ashita demo ii yo.If there’s no time, tomorrow is fine.


Here’s a quick summary of what was seen in this lesson:

  • ば is used for real or concrete situations.
  • たら is used for hypothetical or speculative situations.
  • なら is used for conjecture or assumption. 
  • と is used for expressing natural consequence.
  • もし adds an extra air of uncertainty. Often combined with one of the above conditionals.

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How do you say if in Japanese?

There is several ways to say if in Japanese, depending on the situation. To summarise:

ば is used for real or concrete situations.

たら is used for hypothetical or speculative situations.

なら is used for conjecture or assumption. 

と is used for expressing natural consequence.

もし adds an extra air of uncertainty. Often combined with one of the above conditionals.

How do you say however in Japanese?

しかし (shikashi) is a formal way to express “however” in Japanese.

This expression is typically used in writing or formal speech and can be used to contrast two opposing ideas. It shifts the sentence in a negative way. 


Kono chihou wa shizen ga yutaka desu. Shikashi, jishin ga ooi desu.

This region is abundant in nature, but there are many earthquakes.

それでも (soredemo) can be used in the same way as you would use “nevertheless” or “even so” in English.

It can be used to show the contrast between two ideas. It’s slightly different to しかし in that it acknowledges the first statement, and then offers up something new.

It shifts to a more positive light whereas しかし shifts to a negative light.


Kanojo wa isogashii desu. Soredemo, watashitachi wa deeto o tanoshimemashita.

She is busy, but nevertheless, we were able to enjoy our date.

Check out our full article on however in Japanese here.

How do you say with in Japanese?

The particle と (to) is a versatile particle in Japanese that is often used to indicate the person, thing, or entity that someone is “with” or “together with.”

This particle can be used with both animate and inanimate objects.



Kare wa neko to kurasu shiteimasu.

He lives with a cat.


Watashi wa kare to issho ni benkyou shimasu.

I study with him.

Check out our full article on with in Japanese here.

How do you say and in Japanese?

The particle と (to) is used to connect nouns or noun phrases that are being compared or are in a partnership.

This is probably the simplest way to convey “and” and one you’ll use all the time.


Kanojo wa neko to inu wo katte iru.

She has a cat and a dog as pets.


Kare wa jitensha to basu de tsuukin shite iru.

He commutes to work by bicycle and bus.

Check out our full article on and in Japanese here.

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