Use of conditional sentences
sentences allow us to talk about
POSSIBLE and IMPOSSIBLE/ UNREAL
SITUATIONS and their CONSEQUENCES.
So, conditional sentences typically contain
- a condition clause (if-clause)
- a result clause
if+ present simple, / present simple
Present simple / if+present simple
describe A SIMPLE CAUSE AND
If you press that button, the engine starts
If I drink coffee in the afternoon, I don’t sleep
To write a SCIENTIFIC TRUTH
If you mix oil and water, the oil floats
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 car
You will pass your exams if you study hard
For PROMISES or THREATS:
If I go to America, I’ll send you a postcard
If you don’t do your homework, you won’t go out
IF+ SIMPLE PAST, WOULD/COULD/ MIGHT +
when we think that a situation is NOT VERY
LIKELY TO HAPPEN
If the students were more serious, they would have
for UNREAL or IMAGINARY SITUATIONS:
If I were the President of the USA, I would help poor
people all over the world
If I were you, I would think about it
for POLITE REQUESTS:
Would you mind if I borrowed these CDs?
EXAMPLE OF POSSIBLE VARIATIONS
you tried again, you might succeed.
I knew her number, I could ring her up.
IF+PAST PERFECT , WOULD/COULD/MIGHT HAVE
To describe SITUATIONS THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN
in the past (IMPOSSIBLE)
If I had won the lottery, I wouldn’t have had financial
(= but I didn’t win the lottery and so I had financial
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 known you were coming, I could
have met you at the airport.
(I didn’t know you were coming, so I didn’t meet
- We might have passed our exams if we had
(We didn’t study hard, so we didn’t pass our
ALTERNATIVES OF IF: UNLESS
UNLESS (= IF NOT): examples
A) - We won’t go to the beach if it isn’t sunny
- We won’t go to the beach unless it is sunny
B)- Tom wouldn’t come to the party if you
didn’t tell him.
- Tom wouldn’t come to the party unless you
(= if it doesn’t happen/ if it
didn’t happen/ it it hadn’t happen)
- Stop eating chocolate, otherwise you won’t
lose weight. (If you don’t stop eating,...)
-Her father pays her fees, otherwise she
wouldn’t be here. (If her father didn’t pay,..)
-He studied very hard, otherwise he wouldn’t
have had such good marks.
(If he hadn’t studied so hard,...)
OTHER ALTERNATIVES TO ..if
LONG AS / PROVIDED (THAT) / ON
I’ll lend you my books as long as / provided
that / on condition that you promise to
bring them back.
Had I known that he was upset, I wouldn’t
have said anything.
Even if I were a millionaire, I wouldn’t give him
It 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.