sentences contain two clauses: the condition clause (if clause) and the result clause Conditional sentences show a relationship between a condition and a result of the condition
1) factual conditionals express general truths, habits, and logical possibilities. Present or past in both clauses If I have money, I spend it
If a bird is happy, it sings. You see a lot of bears if you live in Montana. My cat moves her tail a lot if she’s nervous. If I needed help, she gave it to me.
2) future conditionals Express conditions and results in the future. The if clause is in the present and the result clause is in the future with will or be going to. If it rains tomorrow, we won’t go to the pool.
Future conditionals express what will happen in the future if certain conditions occur. They are often used to make predictions, plans, offers, suggestions requests. If you study, you’ll pass the test. If you go to New York next week, you’ll see the show.
3) Present unreal conditionals Are used to talk about conditions that are not true in the present and about the imagined results of these conditions.
Present unreal conditionals have a past form of the verb in the if clause and would/could/might + base form in the result clause. If we had a car, we would drive to the mall.
Were is used for all persons of be in the if clause. (I, you, she, he, we, they were) If I were the teacher, I’d give a lot less homework.
The if clause expresses a condition that is not true at the present time. The condition might be highly unlikely or impossible.
The result clause tells what would happen if this untrue condition were true. It expresses the imagined result of an imagined condition.
If I were a cat, I would sleep all day. If I had time, I would study another language. If I had a lot of money, ….. If I were you, I wouldn’t worry.
4) Past unreal conditionals Are used to talk about conditions that were not true in the past and They express the imagined result of an imagined condition in the past
Past unreal conditionals have a past perfect form of verb in the If clause and would/could/might + have + past participle of the verb in the result clause
The if clause of the past unreal conditional expresses a condition that was not true in the past. The result clause tells what would have happened if the untrue condition had been true.
Factual If the temperature falls below 32 degrees F., water freezes
future If it continues to rain, there will be a flood.
Present unreal If I were you, I would watch the weather forecast.
Past unreal If I had studied , I would have passed the test.
In present unreal conditionals, the condition and result are sometimes highly unlikely but possible. In past conditionals, the condition and therefore the result is never possible
If you were coming tonight, we could go to a movie (highly unlikely, but possible) If you had come last night, we could have gone to a movie. (impossible; you didn’t come last night.)
Other forms of conditionals “mixed conditionals” conditions in one time can relate to results in another time If I had studied something practical, I could be making more money now.
Inverted conditionals (more formal) The if is omitted and were, should, or had is moved before the subject. If I were happy = Were I happy If he should call = should he call If I had known = had I known
If so, if not The condition is clear from a previous sentence. It is not necessary to repeat the entire condition I should pass all my courses this semester. If not , I’ll enroll in summer school.
Hope is about what is possible (like factual and future conditionals) I hope I can come to the picnic.
Wish Wish is about what is not likely or not possible. Wish about the present or future : wish + past form of verb or would or could + base form He wishes he had more money. W ish about the past : wish + past perfect We wish you had been here.
Alternatives to IF In the event, providing, provided, as long as, whether or not, even if, only if, unless
I will pass my exam only if I study. I will fail my exam unless I study. Only if it rains, will we cancel the picnic. Only if he asks do I help her . Whether I pass or not, I am going to Columbia in June. As long as he ‘s going to be there, I’ll be there too.
Implied conditions With, without, or else, otherwise
With proper identification, you can board the plane. Without proper documentation, you can’t take the test. He will go or I won’t stay. He will go. Otherwise , I am leaving.