What Are Conditionals?
We use 'conditionals' to express the happening of an event that relies on something else to happen. This is the best way of expressing 'possibilities' or 'hypothetical situations.'
Different Types of Conditionals
There are different types of conditionals and each has its own functions. So, let us get to know them.
'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.'
What Are Clauses?
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. So, 'zero conditionals' are used for things that are always true.
If you heat water to 100 °C, it boils.
When it rains, the earth gets wet.
Zero Conditional Structure
As you know, conditionals are used to express events that rely on other events to happen. 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
A 'clause marker' is a term used to introduce a dependent clause. The word 'if' is considered a clause marker in the conditional mood. But it is not the only marker. 'When' is also used as a 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; to express certainty and suggestions or your belief about the outcomes of the main clause. In addition sometimes you can even use imperatives in the main clause.
First Conditional Clause Marker
As you know, clause markers are used to indicate dependent clauses. 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.
If I were you, I would talk to him in person.
If you studied well, you would pass the exam.
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.
If she had taken her pills on time, she might have been alive now.
If They had been studying all night, they couldn't have failed the tests.
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 at the same tense.
If I had worked out harder in the past, I would lose more weight than now.
You wouldn't be alone if you hadn't lost him for a ridiculous reason.
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], or [if + past continuous/past simple + would/could/might + have + past participle]
The Order of the Clauses
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, we mean after the 'if-clause.'
If you are tired, you should take a rest.
You would finish the project if you started sooner.
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|