Four conditionals

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Revision as of 23:27, 13 April 2020 by Sashi (talk | contribs) (1st conditional)
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There are four conditional patterns in English. Generally you learn about first and second conditionals at the pre-intermediate level. Sometimes teachers mention the zeroeth conditional. The third conditional is often saved for later because it seems complicated.

0th conditional

With the /'zi roʊθ/ conditional, the condition is purely a logical link, not a temporal one. hehe... not so simple, the zeroeth conditional, huh?. In other words if is equivalent to when or whenever... i.e. (à) chaque fois

  • If you snooze, you lose.
  • If she doesn't practice, she gets rusty.

Notice that the verbs are conjugated in the standard present tense. (3rd person -s) The present progressive (be + -ing) is not common with the 0th conditional, because the 0th is outside of time.

1st conditional

The first conditional is very common and refers to specific and sometimes unforeseen events, not generalities:

  • If you wait here, I'll get the zombies for you.
  • If you don't wait here, the zombies'll get you for me.
  • Don't worry! They can't hear you or smell you if you stay right there.

Any present tense verb (simple, be + -ing, have + -en) can be used in the if-clause (called the protase). One of three modals (can, may, will) is used in the other clause (called the apodose).

This is very similar to French.

  • If you're coming to the dinner tonight, he may be there.
  • I'll take the newspaper if you've finished with it.