Wild Nihongo!
と (Natural Consequence)

と (Natural Consequence)

と (Natural Consequence) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Particle

Essential Meaning: If / When

Construction: 

  • (Verb / い-Adjective / な-Adjective / Noun + Copula) informal nonpast + と
    • E.g. はなすと [If X speaks]
    • E.g. べると [If X eats]
    • E.g. たかいと [If X is expensive]
    • E.g. しずかだと [If X is quiet]
    • E.g. 先生せんせいだと [If X is a teacher]

Notes:

  • The structure Sentence 1 と Sentence 2 represents a situation in which the action or situation in Sentence 1 naturally brings about the action or state in Sentence 2. For example, if I drop a ball, it will naturally fall to the floor due to gravity; the falling is a natural consequence of the dropping. As another example, if I touch a hot stove, my hand will hurt; the hurting is a natural consequence of the touching.
    • E.g. タイヤはふるいとあぶないですよ。[If the tires are old, they’re dangerous.] The implication here is that becoming more dangerous is a natural consequence of the aging of tires.
  • Because Sentence 2 represents a non-controllable situation (i.e. a situation not brought about by human agency), Sentence 2 can not be an expression of human agency such as a command, a request, a suggestion, an invitation, or a volitional statement. All of the following examples are therefore ungrammatical following.
    • E.g. Command: *仕事しごとはやわるとわたしのうちになさい。[If you finish work early, come to my house.]
    • E.g Request: *仕事しごとはやわるとてください。[If you finish work early, please come.]
    • E.g. Suggestion: *仕事しごとはやわるとたらどうですか。[If you finish work early, why don’t you come?]
    • E.g. Invitation: *仕事しごとはやわるとませんか。[If you finish work early, would you like to come?]
    • E.g. Volitional Statement: *仕事しごとはやわるとおうちにおうかがいします。[If I finish work early, I will go to your house.]
  • Note that Sentence 1 in the structure Sentence 1 と Sentence 2 must be non-past even if it represents a nonpast event. The overall tense is expressed in Sentence 2.
    • E.g. それは先生せんせいくとすぐかった。[When I asked the teacher that, I understood immediately.] Sentence 2 is in the past tense, which indicates that the overall situation occurred in the past.

Example Sentences:

ニューヨークにくとおもしろいみせがたくさんある。[If you go to New York, there are many interesting shops.]

それは先生せんせいくとすぐかった。[When I asked the teacher that, I understood immediately.]

タイヤはふるいとあぶないですよ。[If the tires are old, they’re dangerous.]

さかなきらいだと日本にほんったときこまりますか。[If you don’t like fish, will you have a difficult time in Japan?]

学生がくせいだと割引わりびきがあります。[If you’re a student, there’s a discount.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line from 1:02: よくるとうじゃうじゃそこらじゅうにいるのね [If you look closed, you will see that they are there in droves]
This song begins with the following line: ˙人混ひとごみにまぎれるなおさらなみだがでるから、やっぱり一人ひとりになろうとした [Because I get even more sad when I’m mixed in with a crowd, I have sure enough decided to be alone]
Listen to this line from 0:49:「おまえ綺麗きれいだなぁ」ってってみたりすると、どこかむねがぎゅっとなってけたりするの [I say things such as “You’re beautiful”, and I feel tightness somewhere in my chest and I begin to cry]

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