The conditional ra form (also called the past conditional) is formed from the past tense (TA form) by simply adding ra. ba can be further added to that, which makes it more formal.
The conditional ra form can be used in the same way as the provisional eba form. However, it implies more certainty about the condition, and therefore places more emphasis on the result than the condition. It can be used to mean more like "if and when", and is typically preferred over the eba form when this meaning is more accurate. For example:
- 日本に行ったら、カメラを買いたい。nihon ni ittara, kamera wo kaitai: "If (when) I go to Japan, then (when that has happened) I want to buy a camera."
The conditional ra form can also be used when the main clause is in the past tense. In such situations, it means "when", and carries the additional implication that the result was unexpected. For example:
- 喫茶店に行ったら、鈴木さんに出会った。kissaten ni ittara, Suzuki-san ni deatta: "When I went to the cafe, I came across(deatta) Suzuki.".
Read more about this topic: Japanese Verb Conjugation
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