Conditional Structures

Conditionals are sentences with two clauses - an 'if clasuse and a main clause'. There are four basic conditioanal structures that are uded in English:

  • Zero Conditional
  • First Conditional
  • Second Conditioanal
  • Third Conditioanal 
Zero ConditionalWhat is always true or usually happens, or what is advised in this situation.
If+Present Simple + Present Simple
Ifyou have a ticketyou go straight in.
Ifyou stand in the rainyou get wet.
Ifyou see an accidentcall an ambulance.
The 'if'  in the above sentences can usually be replaced by 'when' without changing the meaning.
  
First ConditionalSomething that will possibly happen in the future.
If+Present Simple+Will + Infinitive
IfI see an accidentI will call a doctor.
Ifit rains tomorrowthe picnic will be cancelled.
Ifyou make an apple tartDad will eat it.
Note : Sometimes we use can or may instead of will.
For example :  If you finish your vegetables, you can have a dessert.
 
   
Second ConditionalImaginary events that are probably not going to happen.
If+Past Simple+Would + Infinitive
IfI saw an accidentI would call a doctor.
Ifhe had more moneyhe would buy a new car.
Ifshe worked harderher results would improve.
Note : Sometimes we use could or might instead of would.
For example : If we invited the author, he might come.
  If we ordered a larger quantity, we could ask for a reduction.
  
Third Conditional Something that did not happen, and the reaction or result you imagine 
if it really had happened.
If+Past Perfect+Would + have + Past Participle
IfI had seen the accidentI would have called a doctor.
Ifhe had read the instructionshe would have assembled it faster.
Ifshe had stayed in Parisshe would have improved her French .

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