Zero Conditional for intermediate learners

'If you don't eat or drink, you die'. 'If you heat water, it boils'. Zero conditional is used to talk about facts or situations which are always true.

"Zero Conditional" in English Grammar

What Is Zero Conditional?

In zero conditional mood, we talk about general truths, which means things that always happen under certain conditions.

If fish stays out of the water, it dies.


A zero conditional sentence consists of two clauses:

In each clause of a zero conditional, we use the simple present tense.

If we heat water to 100 degrees, it boils.

If you eat too much, you get fat.


When the 'if' clause comes first, we usually use a comma. When the 'if' clause comes second, there is no need for a comma.

If you murder a person, you go to jail.

You get a cold if you don't wear warm clothes in winter.


The zero conditional is used to state a general statement, a scientific fact, or any kind of truth in the real world.

  • A general statement:

If you hurt an animal, it attacks you.

As you can see, both tenses are simple present and there is no need for auxiliary verbs or modals.

The streets are dangerous if the electricity is out.

  • A scientific fact:

If you don't sleep for more than 48 hours, you get sick.

Your mental health declines if you don't get some rest after work.


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