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There are many different ways of making sentences with if. It is important to understand the difference between sentences that express:
– possible condition = first conditional
– improbable condition=second conditional
– impossible condition=third conditional
– no condition = zero conditional
9. Adverb Clause of Condition
1. Zero conditional
We use zero conditional to talk about something that is always true.
E.g. If I get a headache, I lake an aspirin.
– If metal is heated, it expends.
– If you heat ice, it melts.
– If you heat water to 100 degrees, it melts.
*** These are sentences that are always true. They refer to “all time”, and are called zero conditional. If means when/whenever.”
If + Sub + Vpresent + …., Sub + Vpresent +….
or Sub + Vpresent + …+ if + Sub + Vpresent +….
2. First Conditional
It is usually clear that first conditional sentences are real and possible.
a. The first conditional refers to real and possible future situations
– If I see Sam, I’ll tell him to call you.
(If I see Sam,… = a real possibility, … I’ll tell him to call you= the result of a possible situation)
– If I win the lottery, I’ll spend all the money on a luxury holiday.
( I think it is quite possible to that I will win)
b. This form can also express warnings, threats or promises.
– If I graduate from RUPP, I will work with you.
– If you don’t look after your money, you will end up in serious trouble.
c. It can also be used to give instructions
– If you see my brother, tell him to phone me.
– If Sam comes here, please ask him to wait for me a few minutes.
– If + Sub + Vpresent + …., Sub + will + Base form +….
– or Sub + will + Base form + …+ if + Sub + Vpresent +….
– If + Sub + Vpresent +…., (please) + Base form + …….
3. Second Conditional (Unread present)
a. We use second conditional to express an unreal situation and its probable result. The situation or condition is improbable, impossible, imaginary, or contrary to known facts.
E.g. If I were the president of the country, I’d increase taxes.
– If Ted needed money, I’d lend it to him.
b. If I were you, I’d …. is used to give advice.
– If I were you, I’d apologize to her.
– I’d take it easy for a while if I were you.
If + Sub +Vpast +….., Sub + would/could/might + Base form +…
Sub + would/could/might + Base form +…+if Sub + Vpast +….
4. Third conditional (Unreal Past)
We use the third conditional to express an impossible situation in the past and its probable result. It is too late! These things didn’t happen.
E.g. If she had known that he was cruel, she would have married another man.
– If I had had a lot of money, I would have bought a new house.
If+ Sub+ had +Vpp+…, Sub+ would/could/might +have+ Vpp+…
Sub+ would/could/might + have + Vpp+… +if+ Sub+ had +Vpp+… .
5. Mixed Conditional
Frequently the time in the if-clause and the time in the result clause are different: one clause may be in the present and the other in the past.
+ 2nd &3rd conditionals
-If he had had enough time, he would have studied for the test yesterday.
– If + Sub + Vpast+ ……, Sub + would/could/might + have + Vpp+…
+3rd & 2nd Conditionals
-If I had eaten breakfast several hours ago, I would not be hungry now.
If Sub+had + Vpp+…, Sub + would/could/might + Base form+…
With were, had (past perfect), and should, sometimes If is omitted and the subject and verb are inverted.
E.g. If I were you, I’d marry Janet.
+Were I you, I’d marry Janet.
-If they had realized the danger, they’d have done it differently.
+ Had they realized the danger, they’d have done it differently.
– If anyone should call me, please take a message.
+ Should anyone call me, please take a message.
-If you should need me, I’ll be at the Hilton Hotel in Seoul.
+Should you need me, I’ll be at the Hilton Hotel in Seoul.
-Were + Sub +…, Sub + would + Base form+…
– Had +Sub + Vpp +…, Sub + would + have + Vpp +…
– Should + Sub + Base form + …, Sub + will + Base form + …
– Should + Sub + Base form + …, (Please) + Base form + …