What Is Conditional Mood?
Conditional mood is used to express a hypothetical or uncertain situation that is often dependent on a certain condition or circumstance. It is used to express a situation that is not necessarily real or has not yet happened, but may happen in the future.
Conditional sentences usually consist of two parts: the 'if-clause', which expresses the condition, and the 'result' clause, which expresses the hypothetical consequence that would follow if the condition were met. For example:
If I have time, I will go to the party.
Here, the 'if-clause' introduces the condition, and the main clause introduces the hypothetical consequence.
There are different types of conditionals and each serves a specific function:
We use 'zero conditional' to express a general truth such as scientific facts, typical behaviors, explanations, guidelines, advice, orders, instructions, etc. Pay attention to the following examples:
'Zero conditionals' are used for things that are always true.
Zero Conditionals: Structure
The zero conditional structure consists of an 'if-clause' with a simple present verb, and a main clause with a simple present verb.
Modal verbs such as can, might, could, may can also be used in the main clause of a zero conditional sentence..
Zero Conditional Clause Marker
A clause marker is a term that introduces a dependent clause. In the conditional mood, the word 'if' is commonly used as a clause marker to introduce the condition. The word 'When' can also be used as a clause marker in the conditional mood to introduce a dependent clause expressing a hypothetical situation that is expected to occur in the future.
The first conditional mood is used to express a possible condition and its probable result. This structure is often used to talk about future events that may or may not happen depending on whether a certain condition is met. Take a look at the examples:
Give him the keys
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. The verb in the main clause can be in future tense or a modal such as will, can, may, must, etc.
Additionally, in some cases, imperatives can be used in the main clause of a first conditional sentence to express a command or instruction.
Here, an imperative is used in the main clause.
First Conditional Clause Marker
Some of the most common clause markers in the 'first conditional' mood include: unless, as long as, provided that, and in case. Check out the examples for more clarification:
I will be available
In the conditional mood, one or both of the clauses can contain a negative verb. For example:
The second conditional is used to express hypothetical situations that are not real or are unlikely to happen. This structure is often used to talk about dreams or situations that are imagined but not currently happening.
Second Conditional: Structure
In the second conditional mood, the verb in the 'if-clause' can be in the simple past, past continuous, or past modal form. The main clause can be constructed using past modal verbs together with a bare infinitive. There are also some special structures that can be used in the main clause of a second conditional sentence, including past modal + be + verb + ing, would be able to, and would have to.
Take a look at the examples:
When using the second conditional mood, use the verb 'were' instead of 'was', even when referring to singular pronouns such as 'I', 'she', 'he', or 'it'.
The third conditional mood is used to express hypothetical situations and their results that are unreal and impossible to happen because they pertain to events in the past that cannot be changed. For example:
Third Conditional: Structure
In the third conditional mood, the 'if-clause' can contain a past perfect, or a past perfect continuous verb. In some cases, 'could have + past participle' can also be used in the 'if-clause'. The main clause can be constructed using 'would have', 'might have, or 'could have' followed by a past participle. Pay attention to the examples:
Mixed conditionals are a type of grammatical structure used to express hypothetical situations that are unreal or unlikely to happen. In a mixed conditional sentence, the 'if-clause' and the main clause are not in the same tenses.
Mixed Conditional: Structure
Mixed conditionals can be constructed in two ways. The first way is to use a past condition with a present result, while the second way is to use a present condition with a past result. The structures are as follows:
- [if + past perfect/past perfect continuous + would/could/might + infinitive without to]
- [if + past continuous/past simple + would/could/might + have + past participle]
There are two ways to construct a conditional sentence: by starting with the 'if-clause' or starting with the main clause. The use of punctuation differs depending on which clause comes first.
If the conditional sentence starts with the main clause, no comma is needed between the two clauses. On the other hand, if the conditional sentence starts with the 'if-clause', a comma is needed between the two clauses. Pay attention to the examples:
I would have gone to the party
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|
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'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.
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.'