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Grammar detail: verb たら conditional form

verb たら conditional form - if
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178 words
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clause A
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verb たら form
+
clause B
implies that B is true provided A is true / happens. Depending on context, this could be translated as 'if A then B', or 'when A then B'.
The たら form of a verb or adjective is formed by adding ら to the plain past.
く (go) ➜
った (went) ➜
ったら (if I went)
In these examples, the likely meaning is 'when':
しごと
仕事
えたら
でんわ
電話
します

When I get through with my work, I'll call you.
かえ
なったら
でんわ
電話
くだ
さい

Give me a telephone call when you get back.
In this example, the likely meaning is 'if':
じかん
時間
あったら
ください
Please come over if you have time.
In this example, without further context, the meaning could be 'if I go to the supermarket' or 'when I go to the supermarket':
スーパー
おこな
ったら
パン
ってくる

When I go to the supermarket, I'll buy some bread.
In some situations, natural equivalent English would not use a conditional. For example:
んだら

Don't drink and drive (literally: if you drink, don't get on [a vehicle etc.]).
どこ
ったら
よいわからない
I don't know where to go.
なに
べたら
いいです
What should I eat?
わたし
なに
ったら
いいわからなかった
I was at a loss for words.
This example uses the たら form of the adjective よい (good): よかったら (if it's good). よかったら is a common set phrase, often used with the meaning 'if you like'.
てんき
天気
よかったら
さんぽ
散歩
しましょう

Let's go for a walk if the weather's nice.
Note that たらば may also be encountered. This has no difference in meaning, but conveys a somewhat more formal tone.
ある
あさ
めざ
目覚
めたらば
わたし
ゆうめい
有名
になっていた
I awoke one morning and found myself famous.
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Kanji used in this grammar

コウ   ギョウ   アン   ゆ    い to go   おこな to take place   
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シ   ジ   つかえる to attend to   
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ジ   ズ   こと thing; matter   
シュウ   end   おわる to come to an end   おえる to bring to an end   
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デン    electricity   
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ワ   はな to talk   はなし talking   
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キ   かえ to return   かえ to send back, give back   
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カ   ゲ   した below, under   しも bottom part   もと under (influence)   さげる to lower, to reduce   さがる to be lowered   くだ to descend   くだ to judge   くださる to give   おろす to drop off (passenger)   おりる to get off (train)   
ジ   とき time, occasion   
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カン   ケン   あいだ interval, between   ま space, room   
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ライ   く to come   きた to be forthcoming   きた to induce   
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バイ   か to buy   
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イン   の to drink   
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ジョウ   load; power   の to board   のせる to load on   
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カ   なに    なん what?   
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ショク   ジキ    food   たべる to eat   く to eat   
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シ   わたくし    わたし I, myself   
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ゲン   ゴン   say; word   こと word, saying   い to say   
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テン   あめ    あま- heaven   
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キ   ケ    spirit   
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サン   ちらす to scatter, to distribute   ちらかす to scatter around   ちらかる to be in disorder   ち to fall (leaves etc)   
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ホ   フ   ブ   ある    あゆ to walk   
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チョウ   あさ morning   
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ボク   モク   eye   ま-    め    
カク   おぼえる to remember   さめる to awake   さます to rouse, awaken   
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ユウ   ウ   あ to possess; to exist   
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メイ   ミョウ   な name   
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