What are Conditional Sentences?
Definition of Conditional Sentence
Alternatives to If in a Conditional Sentence
- Imagine that you were a doctor. Would you be glad?
- Suppose he said no. what do we do then?
- I will call him provided that I have time.
- As long as he promises to work honestly, we can give him the job.
- Unless he comes, I won’t leave the room.
- The employees agreed to work until eight on the condition that they were paid overtime.
- Take an umbrella in case it rains.
- Unless and if not mean the same thing.
- Unless you worked hard, you wouldn’t pass the exam.
- Unless you worked hard, you would fail the exam.
When to Use Conditional Sentences?
Expressing Hypothetical Situations
- If you didn’t take a map, you might get lost
- If I had taken the pill, I would have been satisfied.
Making Polite Requests
- Would you mind if you passed me the sugar?
- Would it be possible if you could return my laptop?
- Do you mind if you close the door?
Giving & Asking for Advice
- If I were you, I wouldn’t drink so much beer.
- I would go jogging if I were you.
- If she were me, what would she do?
- What’s your advice if I leave this paper?
- What do you say if I take her to the doctor?
- My father is overweight. He cannot lose weight. What do you say if he stops eating dinner?
- If she takes our advice, she will go to the hospital.
Predicting Possible Outcomes
- If you see his dog, you might be frightened greatly.
Expressing Uncertainty About Future Events
- He’s likely to apologize to you if you meet him.
- If it won’t rain today, the weather will probably be very hot tonight.
Asking for Confirmation About Something
- Let us know if that product works for you.
Negative Conditional Sentence
Examples of Negative Conditional
- If you don’t finish the work early, you won’t go home early.
- If you don’t sleep, watch the movie.
- Wash the dishes if you don’t cook the meal.
- Men die if they do not eat.
- If you spoke faster, we wouldn’t understand you better.
- He wouldn’t have fallen ill if he hadn’t eaten more.
- If your brother had not spent all the money, he would not ask me to lend him some now.
- We’d have won the match if you had practiced well.
When to use will/would with if-clauses?
- If you will, /would come with me please, I’ll show you my apartment.
- If you will send me your documents, I’ll be able to apply for you. (=Will you, please send…polite request)
- If you will contact me, I’ll be able to guide you. (=If you are willing to contact me)
- If my son would tell me what he wanted for school, I’d buy it for him. (=This means he is unwilling to tell me.)
- If they would like to go with us, we will book a ticket for them.
- If you would care to watch the film, I’ll turn on the TV.
Variation of Tenses in Conditionals Sentences
|If + Present Simple
|If + Present Continuous
|If + Past Simple
|If + Present Continuous
|If + Past simple
Types of Conditional Sentences
Conditional sentences are divided into four types the zero, first, second, and third conditional. This classification is based on how much something is probable to happen. Every kind of conditional sentence takes a different pair of tenses. Several variations are possible with each type of conditional sentence.
All the conditional sentences are really similar, but they aren’t the same.
|Type & Use
|Zero Conditional (Truth & Fact)
|Future Simple (Will + Infinitive)
|First Conditional (Possible)
|Present Conditional (Would/Could + Infinitive)
|Second Conditional (Unlikely/Hypothetical)
|Past Conditional (Would/Could have + PP)
|Third Conditional (Impossible)
The Zero Conditional (Type 0 Conditional)
The zero conditional describes real things, i.e., it describes truths and facts. The present simple tense is used in both the if-clause and the main clause.
If + present tense, present tense.
- When the sun shines, snow melts.
- When I exercise, I feel relax.
- When you drop a rock, it falls.
- It gets improve if you study English grammar.
The First Conditional (Type 1 Conditional)
This first conditional describes possible situations, i.e., it describes things that may or may not happen. The use of the first conditional is helpful when we think about what’s possible in the present or future. It uses the present simple in the if-clause and the present simple/future simple in the main/result clause.
- If he works with honesty, he will get a promotion.
- Make a sandwich if you are hungry.
- If they do not call, we will leave without them.
- I’ll be disappointed if they don’t send me a birthday card.
- Unless he comes to school soon, I’ll call his parents.
The Second Conditional (Type 2 Conditional)
In the second conditional, we talk about things that are unlikely to happen or describe the situation that would happen in the future, which is the result of something that happened first. For the second conditional, we use past tense in the if-clause and would follow by the bare infinitive in the result clause.
If + Past + Would/Could or Might
- If he tried to capture our house, we wouldtell the police.
- We would come if they invited us.
- I would lend you the money if you needed it.
- If I completed the study earlier tonight, I could play with you.
- I couldn’t go with them unless they wanted me to.
The Third Conditional (Type 3 Conditional)
The third conditional expresses imaginary situations. It takes the past perfect or past perfect continuous in the if-clause and would/could/might have + past participle in the result clause.
If + past perfect/past perfect continuous, would/could/might have + past participle.
- If we had come earlier, we might not have missed the train.
- If he had ridden the bike more carefully, he wouldn’t have been injured.
- If we had lived in the 18th century, we might not have seen a cell phone.
- If they had searched the internet well, they might have found helpful articles.
- If the students had not been performing so poorly, the school wouldn’t have been lost the rank.
- If my friends hadn’t come late, we could have watched the whole movie.
Note: A sentence is said to be conditional if it has two clauses, i.e., a conditional clause and a result clause. For example, the sentence, In summer it’s hot. It is not a conditional sentence because it doesn’t have two clauses.