What if aliens invaded earth?
What if I woke up with 3 arms?
Conditionals can be fun, but also useful for everyday language.
“If you study harder, will you learn more?”
Conditionals talk about a possible result of an action. Today we’ll be looking at an overview of the different kinds of conditionals there are and how to use them. There are four types of conditional:
The Zero Conditional
Talks about situations that are always true.
Present simple + Present simple
If you eat dirt, you get sick. (fact)
If you boil ice, it melts.
If you’re cold, wear a coat. (suggestion)
Plants die if they don’t get enough water. (note that it doesn’t matter what order the clauses come in)
The First Conditional
Talks about imaginary situations that could happen
Present simple + future with will
If you work really hard, you will pass the exam.
I will be happy if you visit me more often.
If the weather is bad, I won’t go for a run today. (will + not = won’t)
If we go to that party, we will have a good time.
The Second Conditional
Talks about imaginary situations that are unlikely to happen
We use the past tense to make the event more unlikely, but we can still use it to talk about the future.
Past simple + would / could + base verb
If I studied harder, I could pass the test. (even though past tense is used, it’s talking about a test in the future)
If she spoke to me, I would feel happier.
I would be scared if aliens invaded.
If I became rich, I would buy an expensive plane.
The Third Conditional
Talks about imaginary situations that will definitely not happen
Past perfect + would / could / might + have + past participle
If I had studied harder, I might have passed the test. (the test is in the past so there’s no chance this will happen)
If she had come sooner, we could have given her more food.
There might not have been any floods if the rain had stopped earlier.
If we had stayed in school, we would have learnt more.
There you have it! A brief overview of all the conditionals we use in English. Not so difficult right?
Leave a comment below with your own conditional sentences! What if…?