Study Japanese

Conditional form : How to make 条件形?

Written by Kaori sensei

The world is full of conditions! So it is necessary to speak about conditions in Japanese.In addition, there are many situations in Japanese where we speak of preliminaries, giving the impression of politeness. The conditionals are used a lot in such cases.

Today we will learn together how to make the conditional form and how to use it through example sentences.

How to make Conditional form?

First, Divide verbs into groups as usual. If you are faced with a new verb and are stumped as to how to divide the group, check here.

Next, I will explain how to convert Dictionary form to Potential verbs.

GroupⅡ/ Ru-verbs

たべ → たべ れば

る remove, add れば.

Group II is always easy! Say goodbye to ”Ru”and add ”reba”.

Group Ⅲ / Irregular verbs

 → すれば

る remove, add れば

 → くれば

る remove, add れば

Group III has the same rules as Group II.

Group Ⅰ / U-verbs

The problem is Group I. But it’s ok. Everyone, please think of the hiragana chart.

For example,

 → あれば

“う” changes to “え”. And add “れば”

 → かれば

“く” changes to “け”. And add “れば”

This movement is with the potential verbs.

Conditional form Group Ⅰ
Conditional form Group Ⅰ

In Group I (U-verbs), there is always an “u-line” if it’s dictionary form. When making Potential verbs, it changes to “e-line”.

Conditional forms are also present in nouns and adjectives. See the table below.

Affirmative Negative
Verb見(み)れば (見る)見(み)なければ (見ない)
イAさむければ (さむい)
ければ (いい)
さむくなければ (さむくない)
よくなければ (よくない)
N雨(あめ) なら雨(あめ)じゃなければ
Conditional form 条件形

Useful pharases with Conditional form

Here’s an example sentence! Think of all the uses, all the situations!

走(はし)れば、電車(でんしゃ) に 間に合う(まにあう)!

If you run, you can catch the train!

(V) はしる → はしれば


If you don’t understand, ask me anytime.

(V) わからない → わからなければ

あつければ、まどを あけてください。

If it is hot, open the window.

(イA) あつい → あつければ


If you are not busy, would you like to go with me?

(イA) いそがしくない → いそがしくなければ

暇(ひま) なら、明日(あした)、あそぼう。

If you are free, let’s hang out tomorrow.

(ナA) ひま → ひまなら


If it’s not quiet, I can’t sleep.

(ナA) しずかじゃない → しずかじゃなければ


If it rains, the hike is canceled.

(N) 雨(あめ) → 雨(あめ)なら

日本じゃなければ、この景色(けしき)は 見られません。

If it is not in Japan, you will not be able to see this view.

(N) 日本 → 日本じゃなければ

More about Japanese grammar

At the Pre-intermediate level, you will learn many expressions with a narrower range of meaning than at the beginner level. This Grammar Expressions Dictionary is very useful at that time. You can use it like a dictionary for example sentences and detailed explanations of conjunctions.

A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar 日本語基本文法辞典 Kindle Edition

How to practice Conditional form?

Step1. Proper understanding of rules

Surely, it seems obvious, doesn’t it? However, when different conjugations such as Negative form and Te form are introduced in the future, different rules will be used and many new verbs will be introduced. Therefore, it is important to firmly input “This is the rule for Dictionary form”.

Step2. Repeat until reflexive

In the beginning, You will think…”Which group is this verb?” ,and then if it is Group I, You will remind that “What is the letter before Masu…..?”.It is the right process. However, when it comes to real conversation, there is no time to think about it. You need to respond reflexively, i.e., within 1-2 seconds.

Definitely,if you want to be able to speak, this time lag can be a problem.So, for this kind of conjugate memorization, use flashcards.The recommended app is Anki. If you haven’t used it yet, please also read this article.

About the author

Kaori sensei

Japanese online teacher, live in Kamakura, Japan. She is currently working as a language teacher and online Japanese experience host to introduce Japanese culture to the world. She originally worked as an engineer at a Japanese company, so she is familiar with Japanese business culture too.

Leave a Comment