756 - ～ばいい (should)
JLPT N4: ～ばいい (should)
We've seen the ～ば conditional before, in a couple of other lessons:
You may want to go back to NDL #736 if you've forgotten how to conjugate the ～ば conditional form.
Then you may wish to review NDL #737, because at the end of that lesson we covered what is essentially the grammar point we're looking at here: "should ～ば."
If you simply end your sentence with ～ば, you can make a (rather blunt) suggestion.
For example, if your friend is looking at a cupcake that's on the table, saying "Ahhhh! I wanna eat this cupcake!" you can say...
Why don't you eat it, then? // Eat it, then.
Literally: “if you eat?”
Or maybe you're at Bic Camera, and your friend has spent the last two minutes staring at a video game they want, talking about how badly they want to buy it. You could say...
Why don't you buy it, then? // Buy it, then.
Literally: “if you buy?”
If you want to get really fancy, you can use both なら and ～ば in your sentence. For example, you could tell your cupcake-wanting friend:
たべたい なら たべれば？
If you want to eat it, why don't you eat it? // If you want to eat it, then eat it.
Literally: “want to eat + if (it is the case that) + if you eat?”
なら is appropriate here because the conditional phrase is based on the words or appearance of the listener (like we saw in this lesson). Then the suggestion itself is using ～ば.
Here's how we'd use these in the second situation:
かいたい なら かえば？
If you want to buy it, why don't you buy it? // If you want to buy it, then buy it.
Literally: “want to buy + if (it is the case that) + if you buy?”
As you can see, getting good at using Japanese conditionals can really improve your communicative ability. Let's try to push through the confusing bits so we can use them in everyday speech.
So, ↑ that's the rather blunt "should ～ば" you hear in very informal Japanese.
But they don't really use language that is so informal on the JLPT.
Accordingly, you're more likely to see the less-blunt ～ばいい, which essentially means the same thing:
がっこう に いく おかね が ない のなら、 どくがく すればいい。
If you don’t have money to go to school, you should just study on your own.
Literally: “school + に + go + money + が + don’t have + の + if (it’s the case), + should study on your own (=self-study + if [you] do + good).”
I say that this is "less-blunt," but note that ～ばいい still has a more negative nuance than ～たらいい or ～といい, both of which we saw earlier:
For example, the speaker sounds quite angry in this sentence:
どうして ひと の アドバイス を むし する の？ もう すき に すればいい。
Why did you ignore my advice? Do whatever you want.
Literally: “why + person + の + advice + を + ignoring + do + の? + already + should do what you want (=liked + に + if [you] do + good).”
Note: A more literal translation of that first phrase would be "Why do you ignore people's advice?" But the nuance is that the listener has ignored (the speaker's) advice multiple times.
A couple more examples, and you'll be finished...
そんなに あつい なら、 パーカー を ぬげばいい じゃない か。
If you’re that hot, why don’t you just take off your sweatshirt?
Literally: “that much / to that degree + hot + if (it’s the case), + sweatshirt / hoodie (lit. “parker”) + を + should take off (=if [you] take off + good) + isn’t it?”
いちど きり の じんせい、 やりたい こと は なんでも やって みればいい。
You only live once. You should do whatever you want to do.
Literally: “only once + の + life, + want to do + thing + は + anything + should try doing (=do [and] + if [you] see + good).”
We've covered a lot of conditional forms in these NDL's now, yeah?
Not many left now...