765 - ~たら... だろう(に)

JLPT N3: ~たら... だろう(に)《if... would have...

When you want to say "if X had happened, then Y would have happened," you can use ~たら... だろう (に).

In more formal speech, though, you'll use でしょう instead of だろう.

An example:


それが東京だったら、被害はもっと大きかったでしょう
それ が とうきょう だったら、 ひがい は もっと おおきかった でしょう。
If that had been Tokyo, the damage would have been worse.
Literally: “that + が + Tokyo + if (it) were, + damage (e.g. from an earthquake) + は + more + was big + でしょう.”
Note: The speaker could, for example, be talking about a destructive earthquake, storm, etc. that caused damage to somewhere other than Tokyo.

First, X is the thing which did not happen:

それが東京だったら
それ が とうきょう だったら
if that had been Tokyo
Literally: “that + が + Tokyo + if (it) were”

Then Y is the thing that would have happened if X had happened:

被害はもっと大きかったでしょう
ひがい は もっと おおきかった でしょう。
the damage would have been worse.
Literally: “damage (e.g. from an earthquake) + は + more + was big + でしょう.”

If X had happened, Y would have happened:


それが東京だったら、被害はもっと大きかったでしょう
それ が とうきょう だったら、 ひがい は もっと おおきかった でしょう。
If that had been Tokyo, the damage would have been worse.
Literally: “that + が + Tokyo + if (it) were, + damage (e.g. from an earthquake) + は + more + was big + でしょう.”


Here's another example:


病院に着くのがあと1時間遅かったら、彼は命を落としていたでしょう
びょういん に つく の が あと いちじかん おそかったら、 かれ は いのち を おとしていた でしょう。
If he had gotten to the hospital just one hour later, he would have died.
Literally: “hospital + に + arrive + の + が + after / more + one hour + if (he) were late, + he + は + life + を + was losing / was dropping + でしょう.”


One more:


叔父さんたちが遊びに来るのを知っていたら、ビールを冷やしておいたでしょう
おじさん たち が あそび に くる の を しっていたら、 ビール を ひやして おいた でしょう。
If I had known that my uncles were coming to visit, I would have chilled some beer for them.
Literally: “uncle + たち + が + come to visit (=playing + に + come) + の + を + if (I) had been knowing, + beer + を + chilled (in advance) (=chill [and] + set / placed) + でしょう.”
Note: It's not necessarily only "uncles" that are visiting. The uncle's (or uncles') other family members may be there, too.


👷 Construction 👷

Our X phrase will end with ~たら, and then our Y phrase will end with だろう(or でしょう):

たら... だろう [でしょう](に)

This works when ~たら is attaching to verbs (Vたら), i-adjectives (~かったら), or na-adjectives or nouns (na-adj / N だったら).

We don't need to color code all of that, do we? After all, you can get a conjugation refresher here: [NDL #484] - JLPT N4: ~たら (if).

Another reason I don't want to start color coding this lesson is that there are too many possibilities for the conditional phrase in the first half of our sentence. Aside from ~たら, we can also use:

V ... だろう(に)
i-adjective けれ... だろう(に)
na-adjective / noun なら... だろう(に)

If these conjugations are scaring you, I recommend reading this lesson: [NDL #736] - JLPT N4: ~ば.

We'll also see them in our examples below. First, though, I should mention...


に!

~たら... だろう is often — but not exclusively — used when the speaker is regretful or disappointed that a situation isn't or wasn't different.

We saw that in this example:


叔父さんたちが遊びに来るのを知っていたら、ビールを冷やしておいたでしょう
おじさん たち が あそびに くる の を しっていたら、 ビール を ひやして おいた でしょう。
If I had known that my uncles were coming to visit, I would have chilled some beer for them.
Literally: “uncle + たち + が + come to visit (=playing + に + come) + の + を + if (I) had been knowing, + beer + を + chilled (in advance) (=chill [and] + set / placed) + でしょう.”

When we stick on to the very end of our sentence, after だろう or でしょう, it gives the sentence an added nuance of regret, disappointment, etc.

Take these three sentences, for example:


日焼け止めを塗っていれ、そんなことにはならなかっただろう
ひやけどめ を ぬっていれば、 そんな こと に は ならなかった だろうに。
If you had just worn sunscreen, that never would have happened.
Literally: “sunscreen + を + if (you) had been plastering / smearing, + that kind of + thing + に + は + didn’t become + だろう + に.”

もう少し手が大きけれ、もっと上手に弾けるでしょう
もうすこし て が おおきければ、 もっと じょうず に ひける でしょうに。
If my hands were just a bit bigger, I’d be able to play better.
Literally: “a bit more + hands + が + if (they) were bigger, + more + skilled + に + can play (an instrument) + でしょう + に.”

もっと英語が上手なら、いい仕事が見つかるだろう
もっと えいご が じょうず なら、 いい しごと が みつかる だろうに。
If my English were better, I’d be able to find a good job.
Literally: “more + English + が + skilled + if (it’s the case), + good + job + が + be found + だろう + に.”


That's all for this one.

These conditional sentences might feel a bit confusing. Taking time with the word-by-word breakdowns will help.

Coming back to lessons after reaching a higher level always helps, too. ^_^

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