757 - ~たらいいですか (should...?)

JLPT N4: ~たらいいですか (should...?)

In a recent lesson, we saw that ~たらいい is used to say something like "should ~."

For example, we saw:


この服全部捨てるんですか。もったいないから、古着屋で売ったらいいですよ。
この ふく ぜんぶ すてる んです か。 もったいない から、 ふるぎ や で うったらいい です よ。
You’re going to throw away all of these clothes? That would be such a waste. So you should sell them to a used clothing store.
Literally: “this + clothes + all + throw away + んです + か. + wasteful / a waste + because, + used clothing store + で + should sell (=if [you] sell + good) + です + よ.”

That's a long example, yeah? Just focus on the last bit:

古着屋で売ったらいいですよ。
ふるぎ や で うったらいい です よ。
You should sell them to a used clothing store.
Literally: “used clothing store + で + should sell (=if [you] sell + good) + です + よ.”

Aside from giving advice, however, ~たらいい (as well as ~ばいい, which we'll see again in a lesson soon) is a useful formation for asking what you should do.

When asking what you should do in formal language, you would use ~たらいいですか, as in the following dialogue:

A:
この日傘を返品したいんですが、どこ行ったらいいですか
この ひがさ を へんぴん したい んです が、 どこ に いったらいいですか。
Where should I go if I want to return this umbrella?
Literally: “this + parasol (=umbrella to block sunlight) + を + returning + want to do + んです + が, + where + に + should go (=if [I] go + good) + です + か.”
Note: A somewhat more literal translation would be, "I want to return this umbrella. Where should I go?"


B:
1階のサービスカウンターに行ってください。
いっかい の サービスカウンター に いって ください。
Please go to the service counter on the first floor.
Literally: “first floor + の + service counter + に + go (and) + please.”

Note that a question word (e.g. who, when, how, etc.) always comes somewhere before ~たらいいですか.

There are a lot of unfamiliar situations which you're likely to encounter when in Japan, situations in which you don't know what you should do. As such, you may find that this grammar point is particularly useful.


👷 Construction 👷

Question Word... V たらいいですか


Remember that we conjugate verbs into ~たら form by putting them into plain past tense, then adding to the end of them.

If you've forgotten all about this, you may wish to look at all of the ~たらexamples in these past lessons, too:

- [NDL #484] - JLPT N4: ~たら (if)
- [NDL #491] - JLPT N4: ~たら (after)
- [NDL #561] - JLPT N4: ~たらいい (hope)
- [NDL #749] - JLPT N4: ~たらいい (should)
- [NDL #368] - JLPT N1: ~たら最後

It is also worth noting that the ですか will be dropped in casual language. Instead, you can just end your question with ~たらいい?


A:
僕はたらいい?
ぼく は なに を したらいい?
What should I do?
Literally: “I + は + what + を + should do (=if [I] do + good)?”


B:
省吾君はお米を洗って。
しょうご くん は おこめ を あらって。
You (=Shogo-kun) wash the rice.
Literally: “Shogo-kun + は + (uncooked) rice + を + wash (and).”


A couple more dialogues, and you'll be finished, yo:


A:
コンタクトレンズの処方箋が欲しいんですが、どうたらいいですか
コンタクトレンズ の しょうほうせん が ほしい んです が、 どう したらいいですか。
What should I do if I want to get a prescription for contact lenses?
Literally: “contact lens + の + prescription + が + wanted + んです + が, + how + should do (=if [I] do + good) + です + か.”


B:
わたしもわかりません。
わたし も わかりません。
I don’t know, either.
Literally: “I + も + don’t know / don’t understand.”



A:
最初の家賃はいつまでに払ったらいいですか
さいしょ の やちん は いつ まで に はらったらいいですか。
When do I need to pay the first rent by?
Literally: “first + の + rent + は + when + until + に + should pay (=if [I] pay + good) + です + か.”


B:
来週の木曜日までに払ってください。
らいしゅう の もくようび まで に はらって ください。
Please pay it by Thursday of next week.
Literally: “next week + の + Thursday + until + に + pay (and) + please.”


As I mentioned earlier, ~ばいいですか means pretty much the same thing as ~たらいいですか.

We'll see ~ばいいですか an upcoming N4 lesson.




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