What Are If-clauses?
If-clauses, also known as conditional clauses, are a type of dependent clause that express a condition and its potential result. They are used to talk about hypothetical or imaginary situations and their possible outcomes.
If-clauses are formed by using the conjunction "if" followed by a clause that expresses a condition. The result of the condition is usually expressed in an independent clause that follows the if-clause.
Types of If-clauses
There are three types of if-clauses:
- If-clause type I
- If-clause type II
- If-clause type II
If-clause Type I
If-clauses Type I: Form
A real conditional sentence typically consists of a conditional clause, which is formed by using a present simple verb after 'If', and the main clause which includes future modals to express the result.
Modal verbs are used in the main clause (also called the result clause), not in the clause which expresses the condition (also called the if-clause).
will represent you in the court...')
If-clause Type II
Type II if-clauses, also known as unreal conditionals, are used to talk about hypothetical or imaginary situations in the present or future and their possible results.
If-clause Type II: Form
Type II 'if-clauses' consist of a conditional clause, which is formed by adding a past simple verb to if, and a main clause that includes a modal verb with future-in-the-past meaning.
'Would' is used in the main clause (also called the result clause), not in the conditional clause (also called the if-clause):
would decide to take the trip …')
If-clause Type III
The third conditional is used to talk about hypothetical or imaginary situations in the past, where something did or did not happen, and the hypothetical result of that situation.
If-clauses Type III: Form
Type III 'If-clauses' consist of a conditional clause, which consists of if together with a past perfect verb, and a main clause which includes a modal verb with future-in-the-past meaning to express the hypothetical result of an imaginary situation that did not occur in the past.
This sentence means I didn't study enough and I didn't pass the test.
It would have been easier
This sentence means George didn't tell about his wife, so the situation became difficult.
Would have + past perfect is used in the main clause or in the clause that expresses the result of the conditional clause:
If he had stayed in my house, he
would have stayed)
If clauses are used to express conditionals, as a result, there would be three types of if-clauses.
- If-clauses type 1
- If-clauses type 2
- If-clauses type 3
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