tenses are used to speculate about what could happen, what might have happened,
and what we wish would happen. In English, most sentences using the conditional
contain the word if. Many conditional forms in English are used in sentences
that include verbs in one of the past tenses. This usage is referred to as
"the unreal past" because we use a past tense but we are not actually
referring to something that happened in the past. There are five main ways of
constructing conditional sentences in English. In all cases, these sentences
are made up of an if clause and a main clause. In many negative conditional
sentences, there is an equivalent sentence construction using
"unless" instead of "if".
Conditional Sentence Type 0
type zero is used to talk about general truths, scientific facts or things
which always happen under certain conditions.
If+ Simple Present, + Simple Present
conditional is used to talk about things which are always true, scientific
facts, general truths:
If I am a millionaire NOTE: you can use "when" instead
Conditional Sentence Type 1
the "real" conditional because it is used for real or possible
situations. These situations take place if a certain condition is met. It is
possible and alsovery likelythat the condition will be fulfilled.
If + Simple Present, + Simple Future
Sentences Type 1 refer to the future. An action in the future will only happen
if a certain condition is fulfilled by that time. We don't know for sure
whether the condition actually will be fulfilled or not, but the conditions
seems rather realistic – so we think it is likely to happen.
have much money, I'll vacation around the world
If I study hard for final exam, I will get
a good result
If I give a gift for my brother, he will be
If she doesn’t late, I won’t be angry
Conditional Sentence Type 2
the "unreal" conditional because it is used for unreal impossible or
improbable situations. This conditional provides an imaginary result for a
given situation. It isvery unlikelythat the condition will be fulfilled.
if + Simple Past, + would + base verb
Were / Was
conditional type 2, we usually use in the if clause "were" instead of "was" even if the pronoun isI,he,sheorit. "were" here is asubjunctiveform.
NOTE "was" is also a possible form.
If Iwerea police, I would catch a thief.
If I were
you, I would accept her apologize.
were love him, she wouldn’t leave him.
Sentences Type 2 refer to an action in the present that could happen if the
present situation were different. I don't really expect the situation to change
because it is very unlikely.
If I had
much money, I would buy a ticket One Direction’s concert.
came late to school, my teacher would be angry.
Conditional Sentence Type 3
It isimpossiblethat the condition will be met because
it refers to the past.
if + Past Perfect, + would + have + Past Participle
Sentences Type 3 refer to situations in the past. They express hypothetical
results to past given situations.
Richman had been careful, he wouldn't have had that terrible accident.
the past, he was careless. He drove so fast. So he had a terrible accident
If Cindy had studied harder, she would have
passed the final exam.
the past cindy was lazy to study, so she wouldn’t passed final exam
Things to remember
1. The main
clause can also be at the beginning of the sentence. In this case, don't use a
- I would watch the One Directions concert if I had a tickets.
- Richman wouldn't have got an accident If he had driven motorcycle carefully.
don’t sleep this afternoon, I will be sleepy in the evening.