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Introduction
14 May 2021

Conditional sentences describe a situation that must exist before something else can happen.

It consists of two clauses:

  • Conditional clause and Result clause.

Conditional Clause set the condition on the basis of which Result Clause shows the outcomes.

Keywords to look out for:

  • If/Suppose/Provided that
  • Unless
  • As if/as though
  • I wish
Generally, these keywords are used to set the condition for a outcome.

Types of Conditional Sentences

Generally, there are 4 types of Conditional sentences:

  • Zero Conditionals
    • These are based on situations that are always true.
  • First Conditionals
    • These are based on situations that are possible.
  • Second Conditionals
    • These are based on current situations that are possible.
  • Third Conditionals
    • These are based on Past situations that are imaginary.

Zero Conditional

Zero conditional is used to represent facts.

  • It always happens, on the condition that something else happens.
  • It is mostly used in showing the scientific explanations.
  • It is also known as Present Conditional.

Example:

  • If you heat water at 1000 C, it boils.
  • If you drop an egg from height, it breaks.

Structure:

If Clause

Result

 It should be in Present tense:

  • Present Indefinite
  • Present Continuous
  • Present Perfect
  • Present Perfect Continuous

 It could be

  • Present
  • Modals
  • Imperative sentence

Examples:

  • Imperative
    • If you have a membership card, enter though the door on the right.
  • Modals
    • If the fire alarm goes off, we should leave the building.
  • Other
    • If you have accomplished your task you may switch to another.

First Conditional

First conditional is used to talk about something which will or may happen in the future as a result of something else.

  • It is used to tell the probability of an event and its condition.
  • It is also known as Future Conditional.

Example:

  • If it rains tomorrow, I will not go to college.
  • If it rains tomorrow, I will buy an umbrella.
  • I will buy an umbrella, if it rains tomorrow.

Structure:

If Clause

Result

 It should be in:

  • Present Indefinite

 It should be in:

  • Future Indefinite

Examples:

  • If you play this game good you will be selected for next round.
  • You will get 3 t-shirts free if you buy 2 t-shirts.

 

Note:

  • Don’t use will or may/might in If clause.
  • Always use V1 (Infinitive) after will or might in Result clause.

 

Second Conditional

Second conditional is used to talk about imaginary situations and the consequences.

  • It is also known as Imaginary Conditional.

Example:

  • If I had a car, I would take part in racing championship.

Imaginary abilities:

  • If I had wings, I would fly in the sky.
  • If I could fly, I would not need a car.

Structure:

If Clause

  • Had + Noun
  • Main Verb in 2nd Form (V2)
  • Were – if Past Indefinite

Result

  •  Would + V1

 

 

Example:

  • If I had money, I would give it to you.
  • If I could help you, I would.

Note:

  • Don’t write ‘would’ after ‘If’.
  • Always use ‘could’ to talk about abilities.

Third Conditional

Third conditional is used to talk about past events.

  • It is used to described what could have happened as a result of something else.
  • More often it is used to tell regrets, criticize, relief.
  • It is also known as the Past Conditional.

Example:

  • If you had worked harder, you would not have failed the exam.

Structure:

If Clause

Result

  • Past Perfect: Had + V3
  • Would/Should/Could/Might + Present Perfect

Example:

  • If I had not spent all my money, I would have brought a computer.

Note:

  • Do not write ‘would’ in If clause.
    • If I would have … (wrong)
    • If I had …. (right)

Miscellaneous

Other Structure to show imaginary statements:

 As if

 As though

 State – were

 Action – Had + V3

 Explanation:

  • With ‘as if/as though’ use ‘were’ in case of state, and ‘had + V3’ in case of action.

 Example:

  • Aryan behaves as if he were the captain of this team. (State – were)
  • He talks as if he had solved all the questions. (Action – had + V3)

 

‘Would that’ is also used to make imaginary sentences.

Example:

  • Would that you were my friend we would talk a lot.


Inversion of ‘had’ and Imaginary sentences.

With ‘If’

  • If he had come to me, I would have helped him.

Inversion of 'had':

  • Had he come to me I would have helped him.

Did You Know

  • Conditional sentences are used in every language, even in computer programming we use conditions to make algorithms.
  • Past conditionals are used to show regrets.
    • If I had work harder, I would have cleared the examination.
    • But since the condition didn’t met, the outcome is a regret.
  • Mastering conditionals will help you building confidence in speaking and expressing thoughts more clearly.