ば - Grammar Discussion

if… then

Structure

  • Verb[ ]
    食べる → 食べ れば ・食べ なければ
    飲む → 飲 めば ・飲ま なければ
    する → す れば ・し なければ
    行く → 行 けば ・行か なければ
    である → であ れば ・では なければ

  • い-Adjective → れば ・く なければ

:warning: Hypothetical

[Unlike たら, ば doesn’t have a time related meaning “when/then”]

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Why is this not displayed as (Passive) or なければ? It would make it so much easier to understand with the title.

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Hey :blush:

You have a good eye, ば form is similar to potential form (not passive). But there are some differences.

type of verb dictionary form potential form ば form
V(る1) られる /!見 れる 見れば
V(る5) れる れば
V(う) える えば
V(く) ける けば
V(す) せる せば
V(つ) てる てば
V(ぬ) ねる ねば
V(ぶ) べる べば
V(む) める めば
V(ぐ) げる げば
- する できる (kind of) すれば
- くる こられる くれば

The difference is visible mostly in ichidan (though using れる instead of られる is getting more often in casual speech) and irregular verbs conjugation

type of verb dictionary form potential negative form negative ば form
V(る1) られない /!見 れない 見なければ
V(る5) れない 座ら なければ
V(う) えない 歌わ なければ
V(く) けない 歩か なければ
V(す) せない 話さ なければ
V(つ) てない 打た なければ
V(ぬ) ねない 死な なければ
V(ぶ) べない 飛ば なければ
V(む) めない 休ま なければ
V(ぐ) げない 泳が なければ
- する できない (kind of) しなければ
- くる こられない こなければ

Negative forms are also different.
So we couldn’t write it in easier way, but I think it might be a good idea to point that similarity somewhere!

I hope it helps,
Cheers!

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I have a question about one of the sentences:

今週の金曜日までにできなければ 、来週末に終わらせなくてはいけない
If you cannot do it by this Friday, then you have to finish it next weekend.

What nuance does 終わらせ being causative add to the ~なくてはいけない combination? Doesn’t ~なくてはいけない already mean “you have to” with ‘normal’ verbs? So why would one make the preceding verb causative?

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Bump? I was wondering the same thing!

@nienque
@CrisH

Hey and sorry for the slow answer :bowing_man:

It comes to the fact that 終わる is an intransitive verb meaning “to come to an end” (it can be translated as “to end”, “to finish” but it is intransitive verb, “to come to an end” captures it better).
If you cannot do it by this Friday, then come to an end it next weekend. Doesn’t sound natural.
終える is a transitive one meaning “to finish”.
You want something along:
If you cannot do it by this Friday, then finish it next weekend.
今週の金曜日までにできなければ 、来週末に 終えなくてはいけない

Since the causative form is used when someone “causes” something to happen, therefore verb in causative form becomes transitive.

So we can use the causative form on intransitive verb making it transitive. Also, it has a stronger nuance of intention/purpose than an ordinary transitive counterpart.

So 終わらせる means something along “make it end”, “to terminate”.

Basically that is all, making an intransitive verb into transitive + adding some emphasis, some people simply treat is a synonym of 終える.

I hope it helps,
Cheers!

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Thanks for the explanation. I think our confusion stems from the fact that it sounds even weirder that way in English. If your teacher said “Everyone make your homework finish this weekend”, everyone would look at each other blankly! I guess a literal translation just doesn’t quite cut it in this case.