How do you propose a hypothetical scenario?

You know how in English you can say things like

suppose that . .
lets say that . . .
for example . . .

When you want to talk about something that isn’t happening, but you’re imagining that it is happening for argument’s sake. How would you do that in Japanese?

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There are many ways. Probably the most common configurations include…

(もし or もしも or 仮に) first … followed by としたら or なら or のであれば or ならば
(もし)金持ちになるとしたら
Suppose you became rich…

For a subjunctive feeling, you can use the perfect aspect (た conjugation of verb) which is not past tense here.

もし金持ちになったとしたら…
If you were a rich person…

You can omit the stuff in parentheses, but it would make it a little less clear.

EDIT: BTW, the list above is not an exhaustive set of ways to propose hypotheticals, but they are plenty to start with

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When you said that it would make it less clear, what would a native speaker think if you omitted them?

They just wouldn’t have a heads up that a hypothetical is coming until you got to the second part. It might feel more “out of the blue.” The first part is like what you were proposing at first, where you set the stage for a hypothetical.

They just wouldn’t have a heads up that a hypothetical is coming until you got to the second part. It might feel more “out of the blue.” The first part is like what you were proposing at first, where you set the stage for a hypothetical.

Oh I get it. I’ve noticed this a lot. For some reason, ideas in Japanese are expressed in an order that’s backwards from how they’re normally expressed in English. Like in English you would tell someone that you’re talking about a hypothetical scenario first, and then explain the scenario, whereas here the scenario is explained first. That’s actually the most annoying part of Japanese for me because I can’t change how I think so easily.

I think that’s the SVO part of Japanese that was difficult for me to wrap my head around at first too. It’s especially hard once you get to really complex sentences with multiple clauses.

I guess you just gotta used to the Yoda mindset. :wink:

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According to the grammar dictionary, ~なら is the most hypothetical of the four conditional formations, even to the extent that it’s ungrammatical to use S1ならS2 if S1 is guaranteed to occur.

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