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Learning Outcomes

his package will help you revise the form, meaning and use of conditional sentences.


Before we look at this in detail think about these questions.

Read the following sentences and answer the questions.

1. Which of these two sentences are you more likely to say and why?

        a) If I win the Mark Six, I’ll travel around the world.

        b)  If I won the mark Six, I would travel around the world.

2. What is wrong with this sentence?

        When there is a fire, do not use the lift.

3. In what circumstances would you say something like this?

        If I had worked harder, I would have passed the exam.

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Form, Use and Meaning

There are several structures in English that are called conditionals.

"Condition" means "situation or circumstance". If a particular condition is true, then a particular result happens or could happen.

  • If y = 10 then 2y = 20
  • If y = 3 then 2y = 6

There are three basic conditionals that we use very often and a few others that are not used as often.

In this package, we will look at the three basic conditionals as well as zero conditional.

People sometimes call conditionals "IF" structures or sentences, because there is usually (but not always) the word "if" in a conditional sentence.

First Conditional: real possibility

Here we are talking about a particular condition or situation in the present that will have some kind of result in the future. There is also real possibility that this condition will happen. For example, you want to go camping but only if the weather is nice. So the resultant action of camping is dependent upon the condition of the weather being fine.

To construct the first conditional, we use

        if + the present tense + will + base verb
        will + base verb if + the present tense

The important thing about the first conditional is that there is a real possibility that the condition will happen.

  • Sometimes, we use shallcan, could, may or might instead of will, for example:

                               If work hard, I might pass the exam.

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