Use of conditional sentences Conditional sentences allow us to talk aboutPOSSIBLE and IMPOSSIBLE/ UNREALSITUATIONS and their CONSEQUENCES. So, conditional sentences typically contain TWO CLAUSES:- a condition clause (if-clause)- a result clause
ZERO CONDITIONALif+ present simple, / present simplePresent simple / if+present simple To describe A STRAIGHTFORWARD CAUSE AND EFFECTIf you press that button, the engine starts To write a SCIENTIFIC TRUTHIf you mix oil and water, the oil floats
FIRST CONDITIONAL: IF + PRESENT SIMPLE , WILL WILL / IF+PRESENT SIMPLE When we believe that something is LIKELY (PROBABLE) TO HAPPEN:If I have the money, I will buy a new carYou will pass your exams if you study hard For PROMISES or THREATS:If I go to America, I’ll send you a postcardIf you don’t do your homework, you won’t go out
POSSIBLE VARIATIONS OF THE MAIN FORM:1) Instead of WILL, we may have other MODAL VERBSIf you keep on behaving like that, you may/might have problems.If you finish your work in time, you can/may go home.If you want to lose weight, you must/should eat less bread.If you see Tom, could you ask him to ring me?.2) Instead of WILL, we may have an IMPERATIVEIf you are hungry, make yourself a sandwich.
SECOND CONDITIONAL:IF+ SIMPLE PAST, WOULD/COULD/ MIGHT + INFINITIVE when we think that a situation is NOT VERY LIKELY TO HAPPENIf the students were more serious, they could have better results for UNREAL or IMAGINARY SITUATIONS:If I were the President of the USA, I would help poor people all over the world for ADVICE:If I were you, I would think about it for POLITE REQUESTS:Would you mind if I borrowed these CDs?
EXAMPLE OF POSSIBLE VARIATIONS If you tried again, you might succeed. If I knew her number, I could ring her up. If I were on holiday, I might be touring Italy.
THIRD CONDITIONALIF+PAST PERFECT , WOULD/COULD/MIGHT HAVE +PAST PARTICIPLE To describe IMAGINARY or UNREAL SITUATIONS in the pastIf I had won the lottery, I wouldn’t have had financial problems. (= but I didn’t win the lottery and so I had financial problems) To express REGRETS:If you had bought me a diamond ring, I would have loved you forever. (= but you didn’t buy me one, so I stopped loving you!)
Examples of possible variations:- If I had know you were coming, I could have met you at the airport.(I didn’t know you were coming, so I didn’t meet you there)- We might have passed if we had studied harder.(We didn’t study hard, so we didn’t pass)
ALTERNATIVES TO ‘IF’... UNLESS (= if not)You won’t lose weight, unless you stop eating chocolate.Unless you hurry you’ll miss the train. OTHERWISE (= if it doesn’t happen/ if it didn’t happen/ it it hadn’t happen)Stop eating chocolate, otherwise you won’t lose weight.Her father pays her fees, otherwise she wouldn’t be here.He studied very hard, otherwise he wouldn’t have had such good marks.
ALTERNATIVES TO ‘IF’... ASLONG AS / PROVIDED (THAT) / ON CONDITION THAT....I’ll lend you my books as long as / provided that / on condition that you promise to bring them back. INVERSIONSHad I known that he was upset, I wouldn’t have said anything. EVEN IF...Even if I were a millionaire, I wouldn’t give him any money.
MIXED CONDITIONALSIt combines the THIRD CONDITIONAL (in the condition clause) with the SECOND CONDITIONAL (in the result clause):If I hadn’t eaten that seafood, I wouldn’t feel so awful now.If the weather had been fine last week, there would be roses in the garden now.
MIXED CONDITIONALS Or the SECOND CONDITIONAL (in the if- clause) with the THIRD CONDITIONAL (in the main clause)If he weren’t so shy, he would have asked her to marry him.If Emma weren’t so lazy, she would have studied harder.* It happens when the time reference in the if- clause is different from the main clause.
I wish / If onlyWe use I wish/ If only + past simple to talk about a desire for the present.I’m not very tall. I wish/If only I were taller.I haven’t got a house at the beach. I wish/ If only I had a house at the beach.
I wish / If onlyWe use I wish/If only + past participle to talk about a regret about something in the past.I didn’t study very hard. I wish/ If only I had studied harder.I ate a lot; I’m so full. I wish/ If only I hadn’t eaten so much.
I wish / If only We use I wish/If only + would-inf to complain about something annoying.My parents never let me stay at my friends’ houses. I wish/ If only my parents would let me stay at my friends’ houses.He is always talking while the teacher is explaining. I wish/ If only he would stop talking.