Have you ever thought about something that might have happened if there was a different situation in the past? Conditionals help us talk about possibilities.
What Is Conditional Mood?
We use 'conditionals' to express the happening of an event that relies on something else to happen. This is the best way of expressing 'hypothetical situations.'
There are different types of conditionals and each has its own functions:
'Conditionals' are made of an 'if-clause' and the 'main clause' that indicates the result of the if-clause. They may refer to the probability of a past, present, or future event.
It is important to know that conditional clauses are made of two parts. One is the 'conditional' part which is called the 'if-clause' and one is the 'result' clause which is called the 'main clause.'
We use 'zero conditional' to express a permanent truth such as scientific facts and general habits, our typical behaviors, explanations, guidelines, advice, orders, instructions, etc.
'Zero conditionals' are used for things that are always true.
Zero Conditional Structure
The if clause in 'zero conditional' structure has a simple present verb, and the main clause contains a simple present verb as well.
Remember, in the main clause you can also have modal verbs such as can, might, could, may.
Zero Conditional Clause Marker
First Conditional Structure
The 'if-clause' in the first conditional mood can be in simple present, present continuous, present perfect, and present perfect continuous tense. For the main clause the verb can be modals such as will, can, may, must, etc.
In addition sometimes you can even use *imperatives in the main clause.
First Conditional Clause Marker
Some of the most common clause markers in the 'first conditional' mood are: unless, as long as, as soon as, in case. Check out the examples for more clarification:
I will be available
One or both of the clauses can contain a negative verb in conditional mood.
We use the 'second conditional' to express situations that are not real or they seem to be unlikely to happen. Remember, you can use the second conditional to talk about your dreams. In this case, the situation is not actual, but the condition is currently being imagined.
Second Conditional Structure
The verb of the 'if-clause' in the second conditional mood can be simple past, past continuous, or past modal. The main clause can be made of 'past modal verbs + infinitive without to.' In some cases, there are some special structures that are possible to be used in the main clause, such as 'past modal + be + verb + ing', or 'would be able to,' 'would have to.'
In the 'second conditional' mood, use the term 'were' instead of the term 'was' even for pronouns such as I, she, he, it.
We use the 'third conditional' mood to express an imaginary condition and its results that are unreal, and impossible to happen because they cannot be changed anymore.
Third Conditional Structure
The if-clause in the 'third conditional mood' can have a past perfect, past perfect continuous verb, or in some cases, you can use 'could have + past participle]. The main clause can be made of these structures 'would, might, or could + have + past participle.'
We use mixed conditionals to express unreal conditions. The if-clause and the main clause do not happen in the same tense.
Mixed Conditional Structure
There are two ways to make mixed conditionals. One is to use a past condition with the present result; another is to use a present condition with the past result. Here is the structure:
- [if + past perfect/past perfect continuous + would/could/might + infinitive without to]
- [if + past continuous/past simple + would/could/might + have + past participle]
You can start a conditional with an 'if-clause,' or the 'main clause.' The only important thing to know is that if you start the conditional with the 'main clause' you write the clauses with no 'comma' in between, but using an 'if-clause' at the beginning requires a 'comma' between the two clauses, i.e. after the 'if-clause.'
You would finish the project
To sum up all you have learned, take a look at the table below.
|First||present/present continuous||future (will)/imperative/modals + infinitive|
|Second||past tense||past modals + infinitives|
|Third||past perfect||would have + past participle/past modals + past participle|
|Mixed||past perfect/past modals + infinitives||past modals + infinitives/past perfect|