Conditional sentences are statements discussing known factors or hypothetical situations and their consequences. These sentences use conditional construction and verb forms, which is called the conditional mood. Complete conditional sentences contain a conditional clause and the consequence. As a refresher, a clause is a group of words with their own subject and verb.
A clause is a group of related words containing a subject that tells readers what the sentence is about, and a verb that tells readers what the subject is doing.
Uses of the Conditional
- First conditional
- Nature: Open condition, what is said in the condition is possible.
- Time: This condition refers either to present or to future time.
e.g. If he is late, we will have to go without him. If my mother knows about this, we are in serious trouble.
2. Second conditional
- Nature: unreal (impossible) or improbable situations.
- Time: present; the TENSE is past, but we are talking about the present, now.
e.g. If I knew her name, I would tell you. If I were you, I would tell my father.
Compare: If I become president, I will change the social security system. (Said by a presidential candidate) If I became president, I would change the social security system. (Said by a schoolboy: improbable) If we win this match, we are qualified for the semifinals. If I won a million pounds, I would stop teaching. (improbable)
3. Third conditional
- Nature: unreal
- Time: Past (so we are talking about a situation that was not so in the past.)
e.g. If you had warned me, I would not have told your father about that party.(But you didn’t, and I have).
Types of Conditional Sentence
|Type||If – Clause||Main Clause|
|I||Simple Present||Will-future or (Modal + infinitive)|
|II||Simple Past||Would + infinitive *|
|III||Past Perfect||Would + have + past participle *|
2. Examples (If – Clause at the beginning)
|Type||If Clause||Main Clause|
|I||If I study,||I will pass the exam.|
|II||If I studied,||I would pass the exam.|
|III||If I had studied,||I would have passed the exam.|
3. Examples (If – Clause at the end)
|Type||Main clause||If – Clause|
|I||I will pass the exam||If I study.|
|II||I would pass the exam||If I studied.|
|III||I would have passed the exam||If I had studied.|
4. Examples (Affirmative and Negative Sentences)
|Long Forms||Short/Contracted Forms|
|I||+||If I study, I will pass the exam.||If I study, I’ll pass the exam.|
|–||If I study, I will not fail the exam.
If I do not study, I will fail the exam.
|If I study, I won’t fail the exam.
If I don’t study, I’ll fail the exam.
|II||+||If I studied, I would pass the exam.||If I studied, I’d pass the exam.|
|–||If I studied, I would not fail the exam.
If I did not study, I would fail the exam.
|If I studied, I wouldn’t fail the exam.
If I didn’t study, I’d fail the exam.
|III||+||If I had studied, I would have passed the exam.||If I’d studied, I’d have passed the exam.|
|–||If I had studied, I would not have failed the exam.
If I had not studied, I would have failed the exam.
|If I’d studied, I wouldn’t have failed the exam.
If I hadn’t studied, I’d have failed the exam.
Explaining about The Fact in Conditional Sentence
Conditional sentence type 1 :
if + Simple Present, will-Future
Conditional Sentences Type I refer to the future. An action in the future will only happen if a certain condition is fulfilled by that time. We don’t know for sure whether the condition actually will be fulfilled or not, but the conditions seems rather realistic – so we think it is likely to happen.
Example : If I find her address, I’ll send her an invitation.
I want to send an invitation to a friend. I just have to find her address. I am quite sure, however, that I will find it.
Example : If John has the money, he will buy a Ferrari.
I know John very well and I know that he earns a lot of money and that he loves Ferraris. So I think it is very likely that sooner or later he will have the money to buy a Ferrari.
Conditional sentence type 2 :
if+ Simple Past, main clause with Conditional I (= would + Infinitive)
If i had enough time now, i would write to my parents.
Fact: i do not have enough time now, so i do not write to my parents.
He would not come to your party if you did not invite him.
Fact : he will come to party, because you invite him.
Conditional Sentences Type II refer to situations in the present. An action could happen if the present situation were different. I don’t really expect the situation to change, however. I just imagine „what would happen if …“
Example : If I found her address, I would send her an invitation.
I would like to send an invitation to a friend. I have looked everywhere for her address, but I cannot find it. So now I think it is rather unlikely that I will eventually find her address.
Example : If John had the money, he would buy a Ferrari.
I know John very well and I know that he doesn’t have much money, but he loves Ferraris. He would like to own a Ferrari (in his dreams). But I think it is very unlikely that he will have the money to buy one in the near future.
Conditional sentences type 3 :
if + Past Perfect, main clause with Conditional II
if you had told me about the problem, iwould have helped you.
Fact : you did not tell me about the problem, so i did not help you.
I would not have got wet yesterday if i had remembered to take umbrella with me yesterday.
Fact : i got wet, because i did not remember to take my umbrella with me yesterday.
Conditional Sentences Type III refer to situations in the past. An action could have happened in the past if a certain condition had been fulfilled. Things were different then, however. We just imagine, what would have happened if the situation had been fulfilled.
Example : If I had found her address, I would have sent her an invitation.
Sometime in the past, I wanted to send an invitation to a friend. I didn’t find her address, however. So in the end I didn’t send her an invitation.
Example : If John had had the money, he would have bought a Ferrari.
I knew John very well and I know that he never had much money, but he loved Ferraris. He would have loved to own a Ferrari, but he never had the money to buy one.
Source : http://abdantamimi.blogspot.co.id/2012/03/conditional-sentences.html
Put the verbs in brackets in the correct tense (conditional 1):
- If I (finish) early, I will call you.
- I (catch) the 9:00 train if I hurry up .
- She will know the answer, if she (try) to understand.
Answer Key :
- Will catch
Put the verbs in brackets in the correct tense (conditional 2):
- If I (be) a star, I would help the needy.
- He (buy) a house if he had a job.
- She (be) happy, if she married him .
Answer Key :
- Would buy
- Would be
Put the verbs in brackets in the correct tense (conditional 3):
- If he (be) careful, he would not have had that terrible accident.
- I (pass) the exam if I had worked hard .
- Her father would not have died, if he (go) to the doctor.
Answer Key :
- Had been
- Would have passed
- Had gone