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sentences contain two clauses:
the condition clause (if clause)
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
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
My cat moves her tail a lot if she’s
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
Are used to talk about conditions that are not
true in the present
about the imagined results of these
Present unreal conditionals have a
past form of the verb in the if
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
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
If I had time, I would study another
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
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
would/could/might + have + past
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.
If the temperature falls below 32
degrees F., water freezes
If it continues to rain, there will be
If I were you, I would watch the
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
If you were coming tonight, we
could go to a movie (highly unlikely,
If you had come last night, we
could have gone to a movie.
(impossible; you didn’t come last
Other forms of conditionals
conditions in one time can relate to
results in another time
If I had studied something practical,
I could be making more money
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
I should pass all my courses this
semester. If not, I’ll enroll in
is about what is possible (like
factual and future conditionals)
I hope I can come to the picnic.
is about what is not likely or not
Wish about the present or future:
wish + past form of verb or would
or could + base form
He wishes he had more money.
Wish about the past: wish + past
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
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.
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