How can I express that something happens if another condition is true? (Eng: "Subject ... but if ... subject ...")


I usually get up at six o'clock, but if I'm really tired, I sleep until eight.

我常起來六點,但是很累到八點睡覺。 (Can I write this?)

  • I think 不过如果 is better in this case Jan 27, 2018 at 11:45
  • unless ... in which case ... 除非。。。在这种情况下。。。
    – user6065
    Jan 27, 2018 at 13:00
  • “但如果……的话”:我一般六点起床,但如果太累了的话,也可能一直睡到八点。
    – tsh
    Feb 13, 2018 at 3:57

3 Answers 3


A literal translation to "但要是" is fine here.

I usually get up at six o'clock, but if I'm really tired, I sleep until eight.


  • Thanks! So the first 是 goes away? It's never 但是要是 or 可是要是? Jan 27, 2018 at 11:16
  • 2
    Not exactly never ... but seldom, because it looks a bit too verbose. Jan 27, 2018 at 11:18
  • 1
    @PetaspeedBeaver P.S. 到八点睡觉 means "go to bed/sleep at eight". To express "until" you need to use the structure here. Jan 27, 2018 at 11:20
  • “但要是” is usually used in oral as well as “可要是”. “要是”=“要说”(to say)in this case.
    – Hao FU
    Feb 1, 2018 at 3:07

There are several ways to say this. Literal translations of "but if" works fine. That is, any combination of "but":

  • 可是
  • 但是
  • 不過

Followed by "if":

  • 如果
  • 要是


Although that's sufficient, a construction using the "的話" conditional particle sounds perhaps somewhat more natural to me. That is, you can use any of the but / but if options above, followed by your condition (being tired), and then 的話. For example:


Note that with the particle, a separate "if" after the "but" is not necessary, but can be used nonetheless.


Just translate it word by word.

但 要是/但 如果/但 假如/不过 要是/不过 如果/etc. are all correct.

You can use 但是 or 但 as you like, both are correct. It just depend on how many syllables you want to say.

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