Conditional Sentences in English
If you are an English learner of Higher Secondary level, you must have come across the term ‘If Conditionals’. However, this is an aspect of English Grammar. While studying different types of ‘conditionals’, you may feel a little confused,
complicated, difficult and tedious also. But if you learn some basic rules regarding the conditional sentences, you will be able to use these sentences in your daily conversation easily and smoothly.
In English, ‘conditional’ sentences indicate certain structures of the sentences that establish what will happen if a certain incident takes place. This means that if a certain action is done, a certain result occurs.
Basically, four types of conditional sentences are used in English language.
01. 1st Conditional Sentences:
This type of sentence refers to the future events that might happen in course of action.[If + Present Indefinite + Future Indefinite]
Structure: If + sub1 + V1 + object1 + (,) + sub2 + will + V1 + object2
- If you get up early, you will keep fit.
- If it rains, we will postpone the tour.
- If I get the scholarship, I will apply for PhD.
- If they want, I will assist them.
- If she studies more, she will be able to fulfill her parents’ dream.
02. 2nd Conditional Sentences:
This conditional sentence is used to describe the unreal possibility. It shows the course of action that would/ could happen in the past.
[If + Past Indefinite + Past Conditional (Sub + would/could +V1 + object)]
Structure: If + sub1 + V1+ object1 + (,) + sub2 + would/ could + V1 + object2
- If they wanted, we would help them.
- If I got the scholarship, I would apply for higher studies.
- If I were a millionaire, I would travel the whole world.
- If you won the lottery, you could stop working.
- If she studied more, she could achieve a desired result.
03. 3rd Conditional Sentences:
This conditional sentence discusses the past. These conditions are impossible also. Because they have occurred but won’t anymore.
[If + Past Perfect tense + perfect conditional (Sub+ would have/could have + V3 + object)]
Structure: If + sub1 + had + V3 + object1 + (,) + sub2 + would have/could have + V3 + object2
- If they had wanted, we would have helped them.
- If I had studied more, I would have obtained a better result.
- If I had been a millionaire, I would have traveled the whole world.
- If you had won the lottery, you could have stopped working.
- I could have informed him the matter, if I had known it.
04. Zero Conditional Sentences:
Zero conditional deals with the facts. It refers to absolute certainty and does not refer to the future or the past.
[If + Present Indefinite + Present Indefinite]
Structure: If + sub1 + V1 + object1 + (,) + sub2 + V2 + object2
- If you cry a lot, you get headache.
- If you cool water to zero degrees, it turns into ice.
- If you touch fire, you get burned.
- If it snows, the ground gets icy.
- If we make too much noise, the baby wakes up.
V1: Base form/ Present form of Verb
V2: Past form of Verb
V3: Past Participle form of Verb
Alia Rawshan Banu
Senior Lecturer (English)