Conditional I

We use the conditional Type 1 when we want to talk about situations we believe are real or possible in the future. 'If I study hard, I'll pass the exam.'

intermediate
"Conditional I" in English Grammar

What Are First Conditionals?

The first conditional is a type of conditional sentence used to discuss a possible future event or situation and its likely result. The first conditional is often used in everyday conversation to make plans, give warnings, or make predictions about the future.

First Conditional: Structure

Type 1 conditional sentences are usually formed by using the present simple tense in the if-clause, and a future simple tense or a modal verb (such as 'will', 'should', 'can', etc.) followed by the base form of the verb in the main clause. The structure is as follows:

[If/when + present simple] + [future simple (will + base form)]
Or,
[If/when + present simple] + [modal verb + base form]

For example:

If it doesn't rain, we'll go to the park.

You can see the result clause refers to the future.

Punctuation

If the 'if clause' comes at the beginning of the sentence, it must be followed by a comma (,) . For example:

If she drinks too much, she will get sick.

The rule of placing comma is important.

If the sentence begins with the main clause, there is no need for a comma between the two clauses. Here are the examples:

We'll go to the park if it doesn't rain.

Since the result is stated at the beginning of the sentence, we don't need a comma.

She will get sick if she drinks too much.

Warning

The use of 'will' or 'won't' is not allowed in the if-clause of a first conditional sentence. The main clause should include a future simple tense, while the if-clause must always use a present simple tense. Check out the examples:

If I remember his name, I will tell you. (Not 'If I will remember his name...')

If clause cannot imply a future meaning.

If Alternatives

conditional I

You can use 'when', 'unless', 'as long as' or 'in case' instead of 'if'. Check out the examples :

As long as she tries her best at work, she will keep her job.

This sentence is the same as 'if she tries her best at work, she will keep her job.'

I'll give you a call in case I'm late.

Difference between Zero and First Conditionals

The first conditional deals with situations that are likely to happen in the future, given a certain condition. On the other hand, the zero conditional is used to express a general truth, a scientific fact, or something that is always true when a certain condition is met.
With regards to structure, both types consist of an 'if-clause' and a main clause. However, in the first conditional the if-clause is usually formed with the present simple tense, and the main clause is formed with a modal verb (like will, can, should, etc.) plus the base form of the verb. However, in zero conditional, both clauses are formed with the present simple tense. Pay attention to the examples:

If you don't water your plants, they die.

This is zero type conditional, therefore there are no modals in the main clause.

If you promise to be careful, you can drive my car.

This is type I conditional and the modal 'can' is used in the main clause.

Conditional Type I: Other Tenses

The if-clause in a conditional sentence can use any of the present tenses in English grammar, including the present simple, present continuous, present perfect, and present perfect continuous. The main clause can use the future simple tense or modal verbs such as 'can', 'may', 'might', 'must', 'should', 'could'. Take a look at the examples:

If you promise to be careful, you can drive my car.

As mentioned before, modals can be used in the result clauses.

If you are exercising every day, you will lose weight.

We can use any present tense in the if-clause.

Review

Conditional type 1 talks about real situations and facts that are really likely to happen.

Structure

if clause The 'if clause' can have all present tenses in the English grammar, like present simple, present continuous, present perfect and present perfect continuous.
main clause And the main clause can have future simple tense, or have modal verbs like 'can, may, might, must, should, could'.

Spotlight

Whenever you use if the clause at the beginning of the sentence you must put a comma, after it. But if you use the main clause first, you do not need a comma.

The Difference between Zero and First Conditional

The main difference between 0 and 1 conditionals is that in type 1 conditional, the main clause must have a modal verb (like: will, can, should ...)

  • Zero:

If you don't water your plants, they die.

  • First:

If you promise to be careful, you can drive my car.

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Sometimes the two parts of a conditional sentence refer to different times. This is called a mixed conditional. Ready to learn?
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