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  Conditionals.  Zero,  First,  and  Second  Conditionals

Grammar  >>>  Conditionals.  Zero,  First,  and Second  Conditionals

  1. Conditionals are clauses introduced with "if". They consist of two parts: the if-clauses (hypothesis) and the main clause (result). The if-clause can comes before the main clause or after the main clause. When it comes before the main clause, the two clauses are separated with comma.

1. If the weather is good, we'll probably go to the beach. (or We'll probably go to the beach if the weather is good.)
2. If you stop smoking, you will feel much better. (or You will feel much better if you stop smoking.)

  The main types of conditionals are: Zero conditional, First conditional, Second conditional, Third conditional and Mixed conditional.

 Zero conditional is used to express a general truth or a scientific fact. We can use when instead of if in this case.

if-clause                                                    main clause
if + present simple                               present simple

1. If/When you mix red and blue, you get purple.
2. If people eat too much, they get fat.
3. If you heat water to 100C (212F), it boils.

 First conditional (real present) is used to express real or very probable situation in the present or future:

if-clause                                                                                                                                               main clause
if + present simple (present cont., present perfect)                                future simple (and also can/may/might/must) + bare infinitive (infinitive without to)

1. If we leave early, we'll catch the 9 o'clock.
2. If I have some time, I will probably have lunch at a restaurant.
3. If it's very cold tonight, our car won't start in the morning.
4. If they are studying, I won't make any noise.
5. If I finish the project on time, I may take a few days off.
6. If you skip English class today, you might miss something important.
7. If the fire alarm goes off, you must evacuate the building immadiately.
8. If she hasn't cooked dinner, we will order a pizza.

Remember: We can use "when" instead of "if" in First conditional. "If" means that something may happen. "When" means that something will definitely happen:

1. If he calls, I'll tell him news. (but he might not call)
2. When he calls, I'll tell him the news. (he will definitely calls)

Note: We can use unless instead of if ... not in the if-clause of First conditional the verb is always in the affirmative after unless:

1. Unless we leave early, we'll miss the 8 o'clock train. (= If we don't leave early, we'll miss the 8 o'clock train.)

 First conditional in popular superstitions

1. If you find a four-leaf clover,                                  >>>
2. If you find a horseshoe,                                           >>>                         you'll have good luck.
3. If you give a new pair shoes to a poor person         >>>

4. If a black cat walks in front of you,                                   >>>
5. If you walk under the ladder,                                            >>>                         you'll have bad luck.
6. If you open un umbrella in your house                             >>>

7. If you break a mirror, you'll have bad luck seven years.
8. If you spill salt, you should throw a little salt over your left shoulder. If you don't, you'll have bad luck.

 Second conditional (unreal present) is used to express imaginary or improbable situations, which are unlikely to happen in the present or future. We can use "were" instead of "was" for all persons in the if-clause:

                  If-clause                                                                      Main clause
         if + past simple (past cont.)                         would/could/might + bare infinitive

1. If he exercised more, he would be in good phisical condition.
2. If you slept more, you would feel more energetic.
3. If I won the lottary, I would travel the world.
4. If I had enough money, I would buy a big house and a luxury car.
5. If she knew Spanish, she would read this Spanish book.
6. If Barbara didn't like children, she wouldn't want to be a teacher.
7. If he didn't have to take care of his little sister, he wouldn't have be home tonight.
8. If you weren't allergic to my perfume you wouldn't sneez so much.
9. If we were earning more money, we could buy a house by the sea.
10. If the TV weren't fixed, I could talk to the children. (I would be able to talk)
11. If Susan were younger, she could work for us. (she would be able to work)
12. They might be angry if I didn't visit them. (perhaps they would be)

We can also use the structure "if I were you" to give hypothetical advice:

1. If I were you, I would attend a design and painting course.
2. If I were you, I would talk to my parents.
3. I wouldn't go home early if I were you.
4. I wouldn't buy a used car if I were you.

See also: Conditionals. Third and Mixed Conditionals
                Conditionals Without "If"

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