Wild Nihongo!


それでは Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Conjunction

Essential Meaning: If that’s the case / Well then…

Construction: Sentence 1. それでは Sentence 2.


  • それでは is a common phrase that simply translates to “If that’s the case” or “Well then…“. It may be informally contracted into それじゃ or further contracted into では or じゃあ.
  • The それ in それでは is a demonstrative pronoun that refers to the content that is discussed in the previous sentence or to the general context of the conversation (e.g. to some nonverbal knowledge that is shared between speaker and hearer).
    • E.g. それではまた来週らいしゅう金曜日きんようびます。[Well then, I’ll come again next Friday.] In this example, the それ in それでは is referring to the unspoken shared knowledge between the speaker and hearer that the business at hand has finished and will resume next Friday.

Example Sentences:

A: このオレンジはあまくないです。B: それではこれはどう。[A: This orange is not sweet. B: In that case, how about this one?]

A: ぼくさかなにくきらいです。B: それではなにべるんですか。[A: I don’t like fish or meat. B: In that case, what do you eat?]

A: 今日きょう午後ごごテニスをしませんか。B: 今日きょう午後ごごはちょっと都合つごうわるいんですが。A: それでは、明日あした午後ごごはどうですか。[A: Shall we play tennis this afternoon? B: This afternoon is a bit inconvenient for me. A: In that case, how about tomorrow afternoon?]

それでは二十分にじゅうぷんぐらいやすみましょう。[Well then, let’s take a 20 minute break.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line at 4:10: それじゃぼくにとってきみなにこたえはからない、かりたくもないのさ [Well then, what are you to me now? I don’t know the answer. I don’t want to know.]
Listen to the dialogue beginning at 0:49: Belle: あたらしいほんない? Clerk: そんなにはやないよ。Belle: それじゃ、いいわ。こんどはこれにする。[Belle: Do you have any new books? Clerk: They don’t come that fast: Belle: In that case, I’ll just go with this one.]

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