homework about conditionals

On last Tuesday in our A.1 English class at Escuela Oficial de Idiomas we were given a couple of paper sheets with a theoretical introduction to conditionals and exercises to grab and learn the main concepts.


Real/likely situations: first conditional

* With If

A first conditional describes a real or likely situation. A present tense is used after if, but the time referred to is the future. Will/Won’t are common in the result clause.

  • If you fall, I won’t be able to catch you!

This means that there is a real possibility this will happen.

  • Going to can be used instead of will.
  • If it rains, we‘re going to get wet.

The modal verb can is also common in first conditional sentences.

  • If the cases are too heavy, Ican help you carry them.

* Unless, provided, as long as

Unless means If … not.

  • Unless you leave at once, I‘ll callthe police.
  • If you don’t leave at once, I‘ll call the police.

Provided and as long as can also introduce a condition.

  • Provided you leave now, you’ll catch the train.

* With the imperative

It is common to use the imperative instead of if.

  • Get me some cigarettes, and I‘ll pay you later.

* With should.

We can use should instead of if in a conditional sentence. It means if by any chance … and makes the action less likely.

  • Should you see John, can you give him a message?

Unreal/imaginary situations: second conditional

* With if

A second conditional describes an unreal or imaginary situation. A past simple tense is used after if, but the time referred to the future. Would is common in the result clause.

  • If you fell, you would hurt yourself.

This means that there is a small possibility that this will happen. The situation and its result are imagined.

  • If you became a millionaire, you might be unhappy.

* Were

Were is often used instead of was in formal language. Note that were is not stressed in speech.

  • If I were taller, I‘d join the basketball team.
  • If I were you, I‘d leave now. (I and you are stressed in speech)

* Were to

Were to is another way of expressing a second conditional sentence.

  • If they were to offer me the job, I‘d turn it down.

Unreal/imaginary past situations: third conditional

* With if

A third conditional describes an unreal or imaginary situation in the past. A past perfect tense is used after if. Would + have + past participle is used in the result clause.

  • If John has studied more, you would have got better marks.

This means that John didn’t study more. A past situation, different to the one that really happened, is imagined.

The modal verbs might and could are common in this kind of sentence.

  • If you had tried harder, you might have succeeded.

* Mixed conditions

For past events which have a result continuing in the present, it is possible to use the form of a third conditional in the if-clause, and the form of a second conditional in the result clause.

  • If you had saved some money, you wouldn’t be so hard up.

Other if sentences

If can mean when in the sense of whenever.

  • If/When/Ehenever it rains, we play football indoors instead.

In this type of sentence we use the present simple in both the if-clause and the result clause.

If can also mean if it is true that.

  • If (it is true that) you have a job like that. you are very lucky.
  • If (it is true that) nothing happened, you were lucky.

If + past simple can be used for past events with a real possibility, or that we know are true. This type of sentence does not have any special grammar rules.

  • If you missed the TV programme last night, you can borrow my recording.
  • If the police arrested him, they must suspect him.

I’ll do the exercises later on :)



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