Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 1: 18/21

ものなら ①

If, If one could, If something would be possible

Structure

Verb[できる]+ ものなら + Phrase

Details

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About ものなら①

Often seen after the potential form of verbs is the conjunction particle ものなら. This grammar pattern expresses that while (A) is not thought to be possible, if it were possible, (B). Common translations include 'if (A), (B)', if one could (A), (B)', and 'if (A) were possible, (B)'.
As ものなら is just a combination of もの and the hypothetical form of だ (なら), ものなら simply states that if (A) were a 'thing', then (B).
  • (おれ)のことを(つか)まえることができると(おも)ものなら(つか)まえてみろ!
    If you think that you can catch me, try and catch me!
  • すぐに(なお)せるものなら(なお)したいけど、(いま)はちょっとお(かね)がないから(きび)しいかな。
    If it can be fixed soon, I'd like to fix it, but it might be tough right now because I don't have money.
Due to ものなら regularly expressing a desired outcome in the (B) part of sentences, this grammar structure will usually be accompanied by てみる or てみたい. Additionally, もし may also appear at the beginning of the sentence to further increase the nuance of 'if'.
  • もしあなたが(わたし)より上手(じょうず)()けるものなら自分(じぶん)()いてみたらどうですか?
    If you can write it better than I can, why don't you write it yourself?
  • もし()けるものならケニヤに()ってみたいです。
    If it's possible, I would like to go to Kenya.
てみる is often used for criticism, suggesting that if someone thinks that (A) were possible, then perhaps they should try it. てみたい on the other hand is more commonly seen when (A) is wished for, and the speaker would like to do it if possible.
While not a strict rule, the verb in both the (A) and (B) parts of ものなら sentences is frequently the same. Especially when expressing a desire to do (A).

Examples

  • (わたし)よりもっと上手(うま)くやれるものならやってみろ!

    If you can do this better than me, I'd like to see you try.

  • (とき)(なが)れに(さか)らえるものなら過去(かこ)()ってみたいが、時間(じかん)旅行(りょこう)実現(じつげん)()可能(かのう)だから

    If I could reverse the flow of time, I would like to travel to the past, but time travel is simply impossible.

  • 帰国(きこく)できるものなら 帰国(きこく)したいが、お(かね)十分(じゅうぶん)にない。

    If I could return to my country, I would like to, but I do not have enough money.

  • この(かべ)()(かた)はまずいって()か?だったらペンキを()いに()ってもっと上手(うま)()れるものなら ()ってみろ!

    Are you saying that the way I painted this wall is bad? If you can paint (it) better, go and buy some paint. I'd like to see you try!

  • もしできるものなら()(ねん)(まえ)にビットコインを()ったんだが。

    If I could, I would have bought bitcoins two years ago.

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ものなら① – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (1 in total)

  • Johnathan-Weir

    Johnathan-Weir

    About 1 month ago

    Not sure if it’s worth adding a note but according to some Japanese language YouTube channels, ものなら is sometimes spoken as もんなら.

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