The 4 Conditionals & how to use Them
In today’s blog post we are going to be taking a quick look at the 4 (yes there are 4!) conditionals and how we can use them.
The Zero Conditional
The first of the conditional tenses we are going to look at today is the Zero conditional. We normally use the zero conditional when we are talking about facts or general truths. We form the zero conditional with if + present simple + present simple. So for example:
- If you eat too much, you get fat.
- If it’s sunny, I go outside.
- If you don’t eat, you get skinny.
In general the zero conditional is pretty simple to understand and use.
The First Conditional
Normally we use the first conditional to talk about potential future plans. We can form the first conditional using if + present + will + verb. So for example:
- If it’s sunny at the weekend, I will go to the beach.
- If Real Betis lose tonight, I’ll be very unhappy.
- If I don’t do my homework, the teacher will be very angry.
One thing to note about the first conditional is that we can abbreviate I will, he will, she will etc.. to I’ll, he’ll, she’ll. So instead of
- If it rains tomorrow, I will stay at home.
We can say
- If it rains tomorrow, I’ll stay at home.
The Second Conditional
The second conditional is usually used to talk about hypothetical scenarios. We form this conditional with If + past tense + conditional + present tense. So for example:
- If I won the lottery, I would buy a big house.
- If I was more handsome, I would have a girlfriend.
- If I lived in England, I would speak English.
The Third Conditional
The fourth and final conditional that we are going to look at today is the third conditional. Normally we use this conditional to talk about the consequences of an action in the past. Although it sounds quite complicated it is actually not so difficult to get familiar with. We form the third conditional with if + past perfect + conditional + present perfect. So for example:
- If I had known about the concert, I would have gone.
- If I had worked harder at school, I would have gotten better grades.
- If I had spent more time in England when I was younger, I would have learnt more English.
You can invert all of these conditionals, this means swapping the two halves of the sentences. So for example a sentence like:
- If it had been sunny, I would have gone to the beach.
- I would have gone to the beach, if it had been sunny.
Another example of this with the first conditional would be:
- If it rains, I’ll stay at home.
- I’ll stay at home if it rains.
I hope you found this post helpful, stay tuned to the Teachify blog for more English learning tips!