Japanese Grammar Bank


Today, we’ll be looking at how to make, and ask for, suggestions in Japanese.

We are going to learn and review several grammar points, so make sure to bookmark this page for future reference 💾


た方がいい (ta hou ga ii)

This grammar point is probably the most commonly used way to express “you should” in Japanese.

Add た方がいい to the past-tenseた form of the verb that you’re suggesting should be done.

See below:


Verb + た方がいい 

Ame ga furi sou dakara kasa o motta hou ga ii desu ne.


Since it looks like rain, you should bring an umbrella.
View More Examples:
早く寝たほうがいいですよ。Hayaku neta hou ga ii desu yo.You should go to bed early.
試験の前に勉強したほうがいいです。Shiken no mae ni benkyou shita hou ga ii desu.It’s better to study before the exam.
野菜をたくさん食べるほうがいいですよ。Yasai o takusan taberu hou ga ii desu yo.You should eat plenty of vegetables.
この本は面白いから読んだほうがいいです。Kono hon wa omoshiroi kara yonda hou ga ii desu.Since this book is interesting, you should read it.
早めに仕事を終えたほうがいいです。Hayame ni shigoto o oeta hou ga ii desu.It’s better to finish work early.
交通ルールを守るほうがいいですね。Koutsuu ruuru o mamoru hou ga ii desu ne.You should follow traffic rules.
寒い日は温かい服を着たほうがいいです。Samui hi wa atatakai fuku o kita hou ga ii desu.On cold days, it’s better to wear warm clothes.
無理をしないほうがいいですよ。Muri o shinai hou ga ii desu yo.You shouldn’t push yourself too hard.
予定より早く着いたほうがいいです。Yotei yori hayaku tsuita hou ga ii desu.It’s better to arrive earlier than planned.


たらどうですか (tara dou desu ka)

This is a great point to use if you want to suggest doing something to someone.

Think along the lines of, “How about …?”


Past-tense た form of a verb + ら + どうですか

(to go) 
ittara dou desu ka

Let’s look at some examples of dialogues between friends:

nihon no tabemono ga tabetai n desu ga…


I want to eat Japanese food
sushi resutoran e ittara dou desu ka.


How about going to a sushi restaurant?
View More Dialogues:

Dialogue 2:

otera wo mitain desu ga…
I want to see a temple…
kyoto e ittara dou desu ka.
How about going to Kyoto?

Dialogue 3:

Nihon no bunka o taiken shitai n desu ga…
I want to experience Japanese culture
dentouteki na sadou taiken o shitara dou desu ka.
How about trying a traditional tea ceremony experience?

Dialogue 4:

nihongo o joutatsu sasetai n desu ga…
I want to improve my Japanese…
nihonjin no tomodachi to hanashitara dou desu ka.
How about talking with Japanese friends?


ばいいですか ba ii desu ka

When you would like to ask for suggestions, this is a very effective way to do it!

You have to make the ば ba form of the verb first, and then throw on the rest.

Reminder of the ば ba form

First of all, take the dictionary form of the verb.

  1. For verbs that end inる ru, replace the final る ru with ば ba.
  2. For う u-verbs (verbs that don’t end in るru), change the final vowel sound as follows:
    1. For う u-verbs ending in -う u, replace it with え e and then add ば ba.
    2. For う u-verbs ending in -つ tsu, replace it with て te and then add ば ba.
    3. For う u-verbs ending in -る ru, replace it with れ re and then add ば ba.
becomes 食べれば tabereba
becomes 買えば kaeba
for う u-verbs ending in -うu
becomes すれば sureba
for irregular verbs like する

Let’s see some examples of asking for suggestions:

Dono eiga o mireba ii desu ka?


Which movie should I watch?
View More Examples:
今晩のディナーに何を作ればいいですかKonban no dinā ni nani o tsukureba ii desu ka?What should I cook for dinner tonight?
この本を読めばいいですかKono hon o yomeba ii desu ka?Should I read this book?
新しいスポーツを始めればいいですか?Atarashii supōtsu o hajimereba ii desu ka?Should I start a new sport?
どのレストランに行けばいいですかDono resutoran ni ikeba ii desu ka?Which restaurant should I go to?
どんな映画館で映画を見ればいいですかDonna eigakan de eiga o mireba ii desu ka?What kind of movie theatre should I go to watch a movie?
誕生日プレゼントに何を買えばいいですかTanjoubi purezento ni nani o kaeba ii desu ka?What should I buy for a birthday gift?
友達と遊びにどこに行けばいいですかTomodachi to asobi ni doko ni ikeba ii desu ka?Where should I go to hang out with friends?
この問題をどうやって解けばいいですかKono mondai o dou yatte tokeba ii desu ka?How should I solve this problem?
雨の日の過ごし方は何がいいですかAme no hi no sugoshi kata wa nani ga ii desu ka?What’s a good way to spend a rainy day?
どの大学に進学すればいいですかDono daigaku ni shingaku sureba ii desu ka?Which university should I go to for further studies?


Very often people in Japan don’t want to say, “You have to do this.”

Instead, they’ll say, “You might want to think about maybe doing this”.

This comes into the whole reading the air stuff. Just know that direct translations of suggestions in Japanese might not fully encapsulate the strength of the true meaning.

For example, I went to a doctor who said, “It would be better to have this treatment, but you don’t need it.

I then asked a co-worker, and they told me that because he’d said, “it would be better” enough times, it basically meant “you have to have this treatment”.


Here is a summary of all grammar words studied in this lesson:

  • た方がいい (ta hou ga ii) is the most common way to suggest that something would be good to do, or good to avoid.
  • たらどうですか (tara dou desu ka) is a convenient way to ask, “How about…?”
  • ばいいですか (ba ii desu ka) is a good way to ask someone to suggest something to you.
  • Generally, apply more weight to a suggestion from a Japanese person than the direct translation gives you to account for cultural difference. 

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How to make suggestions in Japanese?

た方がいい (ta hou ga ii) is probably the most commonly used way to express “you should” in Japanese.

Add た方がいい to the past-tenseた form of the verb that you’re suggesting should be done.


早く寝たほうがいいですよ。(hayaku neta hou ga ii desu yo) You should go to bed early.

ばいいですか (ba ii desu ka) is used to ask for suggestion.

You have to make the ば ba form of the verb first, and then throw on the rest.


どの映画を見ればいいですか?(dono eiga o mireba ii desu ka?) Which movie should I watch?

How to express certainty in Japanese?

Here’s a quick summary of the lesson about certainty in Japanese:

– だろう da rou (informal) and でしょう deshou (formal) both mean “probably” with a fair amount of certainty.

– かもしれない kamoshirenai and 多分 tabun are like “maybe,” but are often masking more certainty than the direct translation lets on to.

– はずだ hazu da signifies strong certainty and reflects objective viewpoints.

– に違いない ni chigainai denotes high certainty and suggests subjective perspectives while retaining a formal demeanour.

– と思う to omou can be used too in conversation.

Check out our full lesson about certainty in Japanese here.

How to say because in Japanese?

There are 3 ways to say because in Japanese:

There are:

から kara

ので node

なぜなら nazenara

Learn more about because in Japanese.

How to say if in Japanese?

How to 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.

Learn more about if in Japanese.

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