Sunday, March 17, 2013


~ば, ~たら and ~と are all conditionals. They are not always interchangeable, as I have written here. But what does it mean when they follow the adjective いい "ii"?


「~たらいい」"~tara ii" and「~といい」"~to ii" are equivalent, and they both have a suggestive tone. "It would be nice if..."

部長に、そうだんしてみたら、いいですよ。/  部長に、そうだんすると、いいですよ。
Buchou ni, soudan shite mitara ii desu yo.
You ought to try discussing it with your division manager.

Another way to give suggestions is the pattern 「~たほうがいい」, literally meaning "it is better if you go this way". This is stronger than 「~たらいい」 or 「~といい」.

Buchou ni soudan shita hou ga ii to omoimasu yo.
I believe you should try discussing it with the division manager.

To soften the tone, one can use 「~たらどう(or いかが)」 and「~たほうがいいんじゃないんですか。」

Buchou ni soudan shite mitara ikaga desu ka?
How about if you tried discussing it with your division manager?

Buchou ni, soudan shite mitara, dou desu ka?
Why don't you try discussing it with the division manager? (stronger than いかが)

Buchou ni, soudan shita hou ga, iin ja nain desu ka?
Wouldn't it be better if you discussed it with your division manager?

If you are giving advice NOT to do something, the most common way to do so is by using 「~ないほうがいい」.

Karada ni warui kara, tabako wo suwanai hou ga ii desu yo.
You ought not to smoke because it's bad for your health.

Yoru osoku made, okite inai hou ga ii to omou yo.
I think you shouldn't be awake that late at night.


On the other hand, 「~ばいい」 is used to give directions (not advice or opinions).

Dou sureba ii?
What should I do?

Chikatetsu no kippu wo kaitain desu ga, dou sureba ii desu ka?
I'd like to buy a subway ticket, how do I do that?

Koko ni okane wo irete, kono botan wo oseba ii desu yo. Kippu ga dete kimasu kara.
You just put money here, and press this button. The ticket will come out.

To say "you don't have to ___", "it's not necessary that you ____", you can use 「~なければいい」.

You don't have to think that you have to do everything by yourself.

This is different from 「~てはいけない・ならない」, which indicates a prohibition.

Koko de sutte wa ikenai.
You musn't smoke here.

Source: Japanese for Everyone by Susumu Nagara

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