Conditional and if-sentences

There are different types of conditions. Some are possible or likely, others are unlikely, and others are impossible:. It is possible or likely that the weather will improve. If the weather improvedwe could go for a walk. It is not likely that the weather will improve. If the weather had improvedwe could have gone for a walk. The weather did not improve — fine weather is therefore an impossible condition.

These types of conditions are used in three types of sentences, called first, second and third conditional sentences. We use the first conditional to talk about the result of an imagined future situation, when we believe the imagined situation is quite likely:.

We use the modal verb in the main clausenot in the conditional clause. We use the second conditional to talk about the possible result of an imagined situation in the present or future.

We say what the conditions must be for the present or future situation to be different. If people complainedthings would change. We use a past form in the conditional clause to indicate a distance from reality, rather than indicating past time.

We often use past forms in this way in English. If you decided to take the exam, you would have to register by 31 March. When we use the first conditional, we think the imagined situation is more likely to happen than when we use the second conditional. If there were more buses, we would leave the car at home. He would buy a flat if he had the money for a deposit.

We use the third conditional when we imagine a different past, where something did or did not happen, and we imagine a different result:. If I had played better, I would have won. It would have been easier if George had brought his own car. The dog barked, so we knew there was someone in the garden. If he had stayed in the same buick nailhead hp as Dave, it would have been a disaster.

Not: If he would have stayed … it would have been a disaster. People do sometimes use the form with would have in informal speaking, but many speakers consider it incorrect. Some conditions seem more real to us than others. Real conditionals refer to things that are true, that have happened, or are very likely to happen:. If you park here, they clamp your wheels. It is always true that they clamp your wheels if, or every time, you park here.Put simply, the basic structure underlying most conditional sentences can be expressed as, "If this, then that.

In the field of logica conditional sentence is sometimes referred to as an implication. A subjunctive conditional is a conditional sentence in the subjunctive moodsuch as, "If he were to show up here right now, I'd tell him the truth. In each of the following examples, the italicized word group is a conditional clause.

The sentence as a whole is a conditional sentence. Share Flipboard Email.

Conditional Sentences / If-Clauses Type I, II und III

Richard Nordquist. English and Rhetoric Professor. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks.

Updated December 06, William Morrow, "All this can be a dreadfully boring business, unless you think you have a future. The commonest way of doing this is to begin the clause with one of these words: were, should, had. For example: Were I to own a new BMW caranother ten microcomputers would be at my command, so their advertisements claim.

Should you succeed in becoming a planneryou would be helping to create these parameters. Had I ignored my fitnessI could never have played international cricket for twenty years.

But we were not there yesterday. But it seems that he was not given a good mark. Pearson, Direct and Indirect Conditions "Conditional clauses generally express a direct condition, indicating that the truth of the host clause or apodosis is dependent on the fulfillment of the condition in the conditional clause or protasis. In [21] the speaker does not give any indication whether he or she believes that the condition--the infection by the person addressed--has been fulfilled. An example of a material conditional is If humans live on Jupiter, then my great-grandmother was an astronaut.

The point of this sentence, and others like it in English, is to emphasize that the antecedent is false. It is a way of expressing 'No way is there human life on Jupiter. In a material conditional, the 'if The only circumstance under which a material is false is when it has a true antecedent and a false consequent.

That is why the compound sentence 'If there's human life on Jupiter then my great-grandmother was an astronaut' can be used to state the falsity of 'there is human life on Jupiter. Yet the sentence as a whole is understood as true. But if the antecedent were true, then the conditional would be false, for it would have a true antecedent and a false consequent.Conditional sentences consist of two parts: The if-clause which is a condition and the main clause which is a result For example:.

If it rains …. If introduces a condition. This is something that may or may not happen, depending on the circumstances. There is always a condition and a result. What happens in the main clause is conditional to what happens in the if-clause.

Conditional Clauses in English Grammar

In other words, the main clause only happens when the events in the if-clause happen. Notice how there is a comma after the verb rains which is the last part of the if-clause. When the if-clause comes first in the sentence, we put a commaafter it.

BUT, when the main clause comes first in the sentence, the commais not necessary. We will quickly introduce them in this lesson and go into more detail about each conditional in individual lessons.

The condition always has the same result. We are predicting a likely result in the future if the condition happens. For example:. Also for unreal or improbable situations now or in the future. It is unlikely that I will win the lottery.

But in this hypothetical, though improbable situation, this is what I would do. It is unlikely that they will sell the house because they like living there. However, in this improbable situation of them selling the house, they would become rich.

Zero conditional refers to facts. First conditional and Second conditional refer to the present or future. However second conditional sentences suggest it is less probable or imaginary. Third conditional refers to the past. There are MORE than these 4 types of conditional sentences though these are the ones that are used the most.

We will look at other types in future lessons. Conditional Sentences and IF clauses — Introduction. Mustn't vs.Conditional sentences are one of the trickier parts of English grammar: there are 5 types of conditional sentences, and you need to be able to use and identify all of them.

As a rule, conditional sentences in English consist of two parts — the main part and the if part or the conditional part. These types of sentences are used to express possible or imaginary situations. When written, if the if part of the sentence comes first, a comma should be used to separate it from the second part. This type of conditional sentence is used to describe scientific facts, generally known truths, events and other things that are always true.

Main part: Present Simple; if part: Present Simple. In Type Zero sentences, if can be replaced by when. This type of sentence expresses real and possible situations in the future; it is possible for the condition to be met. This type of conditional sentence describes an unreal situation with regard to the present or future; a hypothetical condition that can only be fulfilled in theory.

In conditional sentences, the past tense form of the verb to be is were for all persons; was is also used, although only in spoken or conversational English. Type two conditional sentences are also used when making polite requests. The phrases If I were you or If I were in your place are usually used to give advice.

Type three conditional sentences are used to express situations that cannot exist, such as actions or events that happened in the past. They are often used to indicate a missed opportunity. This type of conditional sentence uses mixes different parts of the above-mentioned conditional sentence types.

There are a few combinations: the condition emphasizes the result of the action in the present in the past tense, or the present-day condition emphasizes the result of the action in the past.

The words will and would are not usually used in the if part, except when they express willingness, for example, in requests that is, when they carry a modal meaning :.

conditional and if-sentences

In negative sentences, if…not can be substituted with unless. If can be omitted from the sentence if the word order is changed.

This is sometimes done in Type Three conditional sentences if the, if part is at the beginning of the sentence, or in Type Two sentences if the verb were, is used:. I hope that my explanation of conditional sentences in English was clear and understandable.Conditional sentences are statements discussing known factors or hypothetical situations and their consequences.

Complete conditional sentences contain a conditional clause often referred to as the if-clause and the consequence. Consider the following sentences:. If a certain condition is true, then a particular result happens. I would travel around the world if I won the lottery. When water reaches degrees, it boils. Your writing, at its best. Be the best writer in the office.

Get Grammarly. There are four different types of conditional sentences in English.

“Was” or “Were” in the “If” Clause/Conditional

Each expresses a different degree of probability that a situation will occur or would have occurred under certain circumstances. Zero conditional sentences express general truths—situations in which one thing always causes another.

Consider the following examples:. When people smoke cigarettes, their health suffers. There are a couple of things to take note of in the above sentences in which the zero conditional is used. First, when using the zero conditional, the correct tense to use in both clauses is the simple present tense. A common mistake is to use the simple future tense. When people smoke cigarettes, their health will suffer.

Secondly, notice that the words if and when can be used interchangeably in these zero conditional sentences. First conditional sentences are used to express situations in which the outcome is likely but not guaranteed to happen in the future. Look at the examples below:. If you rest, you will feel better. Note that we use the simple present tense in the if-clause and simple future tense in the main clause—that is, the clause that expresses the likely outcome.

This is how we indicate that under a certain condition as expressed in the if-clausea specific result will likely happen in the future. Examine some of the common mistakes people make using the first conditional structure:. If you will restyou will feel better.

If you restyou will feel better. Explanation: Use the simple present tense in the if-clause. If you set your mind to a goal, you eventually achieve it. Explanation: Use the zero conditional i. If the result is likely, use the first conditional i. Second conditional sentences are useful for expressing outcomes that are completely unrealistic or will not likely happen in the future.

Consider the examples below:. If I inherited a billion dollars, I would travel to the moon. If I owned a zoo, I might let people interact with the animals more. Notice the correct way to structure second conditional sentences is to use the simple past tense in the if-clause and an auxiliary modal verb e. The following sentences illustrate a couple of the common mistakes people make when using the second conditional:.Conditional Sentences! There are various different types of conditionals and each of them has its own rules and reasons for use.

In this section, we are going to be looking at the various different types of of conditionals and giving you all the information you will need to use each of them. Generally, conditional sentences are often divided into different types.

Conditionals: 04 Types of Conditional Sentences — Image 1. In the basic first conditional pattern, the condition is expressed using the present tense. In some common fixed expressions or in old-fashioned or excessively formal, the present subjunctive is occasionally found.

Conditionals: 04 Types of Conditional Sentences — Image 2. And, in the normal form of the second conditional, the condition clause is in the past tense although it does not have past meaning. Conditionals: 04 Types of Conditional Sentences — Image 3. Here the condition clause is in the past perfect, and the consequence is expressed using the conditional perfect. Conditionals: 04 Types of Conditional Sentences — Image 4. Here either the condition or the consequence, but not both, has a past time reference.

When the condition refers to the past, but the consequence to the present, the condition clause is in the past perfect as with the third conditionalwhile the main clause is in the conditional mood as in the second conditional i. When the consequence refers to the past, but the condition is not expressed as being limited to the past, the condition clause is expressed as in the second conditional past, but not past perfectwhile the main clause is in the conditional perfect as in the third conditional.

conditional and if-sentences

Unless means if not. We use unless in conditional sentences instead of if not.

conditional and if-sentences

Conditionals video in English with American English pronunciation. I am a native English speaker and I love your site. You do an excellent job explaining English. English Grammar. Conditionals: 04 Types of Conditional Sentences in Grammar. Table of Contents. Tweet Pin It. Notify of. Oldest Newest Most Voted. Inline Feedbacks. Adeyemi Tollegbe. Would love your thoughts, please comment.The order of the clauses can change. Here are some examples:. A conditional sentence has two clauses that really rely on each other to make sense—a conditional clause which is a dependent clause and a main clause which is the independent clause.

The tenses of these clauses determine the type of conditional sentence, which the next section will explain. The main clause is what provides the rest of the information to complete a conditional sentence.

In these examples, the main clauses are orange. As you can see, these main clauses express complete thoughts and can be sentences on their own. But, you can also see that we also need them to complete the thoughts of the dependent clauses!

This article will help you understand the basics, and teach you how to recognize a conditional sentence when you see one. Real conditionals also called zero conditionals are sentences expressing the real conditions for things that happen, not hypothetical things see Imagined Conditionals. They share true statements about things that will happen or do happen in certain conditions or circumstances. Zero conditional sentences can come in many forms.

But since they are based in fact, they only share past and present situations, NOT possible future situations. So, we write them using a combination of past and present tenses. Based on the level of possibility, there are three conditionals: first, second, and third. The first conditional shares the result of situation in the future that we think is pretty likely to happen.

Its form uses a conditional clause in the present simple, and the main clause in the future tense. The main clause will use a modal, like would, should, could, will, may, might, or can.

Of all the conditionals, the first conditional expresses things that are most possible or likely to happen. As we will explain, with the second and third conditionals, things become less likely or even completely imagined. The second conditional shows possible outcomes that could occur in the present or future, if specific conditions exist.

It still expresses the present and future because the ideas are only possibilities. It also helps us use more polite language like this:. The third conditional lets us contemplate what could have happened if things went differently in the past. As you can see, these sentences only reflect what possibly could have happened—not what still can or might happen.

There are several other special forms of conditions, like mixed conditionals and conditional sentences using will or would. Sometimes we can mix the tenses to express conditions.

Mixed conditionals reflect things that did or did not happen in the past that are still relevant now and in the future.