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Conditionals: The Basics

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

There are four types of conditionals: 0 Conditional, 1st Conditional, 2nd Conditional, and 3rd Conditional.

We use the 0 Conditional to talk about general truths - situations that are real and will definitely happen.

The 1st Conditional is used to talk about things that will probably happen.

We use the 2nd Conditional to talk about an event that is not likely to happen.

The 3rd conditional is used to imagine the possible results of an event that did not actually happen.

The form of the 0 Conditional is: If + present tense verb, + present tense verb.

  • real conditiondefinite result

  • If water reaches 100 degrees, it boils.

The form of the 1st Conditional is: If + present tense verb, + 'will' verb.

  • possible conditionprobable result

  • If you wear a sweater, you will be hot.

The form of the 2nd Conditional is: If + past tense verb, + would + verb.

  • event that is not likely to happenprobable result

  • If I won the lottery, I would travel around the world.

The form of the 3rd Conditional is: If + past perfect +, (would have + past participle).

  • event that did not happenpossible past result

  • If I had studied hard, I would have gotten a good grade.

Conditionals as Imperatives

The sentences above follow the structure 'condition → result'. However, we can also use conditionals to give commands, requests, and advice.

  • If you don't understand something, ask the teacher.

  • If you hate someone, don't talk to them.

You can also put the 'if' clause at the end of the sentence. For example: "I would have gotten a good grade if I had studied hard." or "I would travel around the world if I won the lottery."

Complete the sentences with the correct form of the verb

1. In general, if a typhoon comes, it (rain). 2. If a typhoon comes next week, it (rain). 3. If you turn the fan on now, the room (get) cooler. 4. Usually, if you turn the fan on, the room (get) cooler. 5. If they come to the party, there (be) too many people. 6. If you study hard, you (pass) the test. 7. If the air pressure is low, the weather (not be) nice. 8. If the air pressure is high, the weather (be) nice.

9. If she (win) the singing competition, she would be famous. 10. If you (meet) Jake, you would have remembered him. 11. If you (remind) me, I would have remembered to come! 12. If I (know) he was coming to the party, I would not have come. 13. If you ( not eat) so much junk food, you would not have gained so much weight.

Sentence Building: (Answer the questions in full sentences)

  • If you had a son, what would you name him?

  • If you had a daughter, what would you name her?

  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?

  • If you could have any job, what would it be?

  • If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?

  • If you had a lot of money, what would you do?

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