Conditional Sentences in English Grammar

Conditional Sentences in English Grammar


What is meant by conditional sentence?
What is a conditional sentence?
What is the conditional in grammar?
What is the first conditional sentence?


The Condition Sentence


Zero Conditional or Open Conditional

Factual : If + present simple tense, + present simple



If we heat water enough, it begins to boil.

If he gives you a book, make sure you read it.

If he gives you a book, it is to be read
If the temperature falls below 32 degrees F., water freezes

Future conditional: If + present simple tense,   will +

bare infinitive

The if clause is in the present and the result clause is in the

future with will or be going to. They are often used to make

predictions, plans, offers, suggestions requests.


If they offer a good price, I will buy the whole consignment.

If it continues to rain, there will be a flood.

If it rains tomorrow, we won’t go to the pool.

If you study, you’ll pass the test.

If you go to New York  next week, you’ll see the show.

In a sentence with an if-clause we can use the imperative, or

other modal verbs, instead of will + infinitive


If you hear from Rajesh today, tell him to ring me.

If the traffic is bad, We may get home late.

1st conditional is usually used in such cases:

Considering events that may/may not occur


If I feel better, I’ll try reading one of our reports.

2nd Present Unreal Conditionals:

  1. Are used to talk about conditions that are not true in the present and about the imagined results of these conditions.
  2. Present unreal conditionals have a past form of the verb in the if clause and would/could/might + base form in the result clause.
    If we had a car, we would drive to the mall.

If I were you, I would watch the weather forecast.

If I had time, I would study another language.

Note: Were is used for all persons of be in the if clause.
(I, you, she, he, we, they were)

If I were the teacher, I’d give a lot of less homework.

If I were a cat, I would sleep all day.
If I were you, I wouldn’t worry.

2nd Present Unreal Conditionals:

If + past tense,  would  +  infinitive

can be used to refer to less probable or impossible



If I knew his number, I would send him an email.

I would send him an email if I knew his number.

If I were 25 years younger, I would take the job.

As long as it was well paid, I’d accept this proposal.

If you were coming tonight, we could go to a movie (highly unlikely, but possible)

3rd Past Unreal Conditionals

have a past perfect form of verb in the If clause and

would/could/might + have + past participle of the verb in the result clause(It used when talking about things that didn’t happened in the past.

They express the imagined result of an imagined condition in the past

The if clause of the past unreal conditional expresses a condition that was not true in the past.
The result clause tells what would have happened  if the untrue condition had been true.

If I had studied, I would have passed the test.

If you had come last night, we could have gone to a movie. (impossible; you didn’t come last night.)

Conditional Sentences in English Grammar

3rd Past Unreal Conditionals

If + past perfect tense, would /should / could / might +

present perfect


If he’d known it was a formal party, He wouldn’t have gone

wearing jeans and jumper. He would have worn a suit.

Positive and negative: When we use the 3rd conditional we

are imagining the opposite situation. If what actually

happened was negative, we use a positive form. If what

actually happened was positive, we use a negative form:


If my client had given me his Email number, I wouldn’t

have had to post a letter to him.

Conditionals: if, unless, in case, provided that, as long as, so that If and unless

Unless means the same as if … not. It always refer to the

conditional part of the sentence and not the result part of

the sentence:


If she doesn’t get here soon, we will have to start the meeting without her.

Unless she gets here soon, we will have to start the

meeting without her.

I will pass my exam only if I study.
I will fail my exam unless I study.
Only if it rains, will we cancel the picnic?
Only if he asks do I help her .
Whether I pass or not, I am going to Columbia in June.
As long as he ‘s going to be there, I’ll be there too.

We often use not + unless, which means only … if, when

We want to emphasize a condition:


  1. a) Jain will only sign the contract if I give him an       additional discount.
  2. b) Jain won’t sign the contract unless I give him an    additional discount.

If and in case

We use in case to talk about precautions we will take

before a problem happens. :

Example: We are going to insure the goods in case the

goods get damaged in transit.

Note:  that in sentence with in case, we often use going to

rather than will because we are often talking about

something that we have already decided to do.


We use if to talk about what we will do after a problem


If the goods get damaged in transit, we’ll make a claim.

This form refers to present or future time:


If these sheets were not so expensive, I would buy them.

If I hired a lawyer, I would recover my debts more easily.

Unusual circumstances


We would / might join the army, if there was a war.

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