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?

Zero conditional is a type of conditional sentence that expresses a general truth or fact that always happens when the condition is met.

If fish stays out of water, it dies.


A zero conditional sentence consists of two clauses:

The verb in both clauses of a zero conditional, is in 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, usually a comma is used between clauses. When the 'if' follows the main clause, there is no need for a comma. Pay attention to the examples:

If you murder a person, you go to jail.

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


The zero conditional is used to present a general statement, a scientific fact, or any kind of truth relating to 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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