Conditional Sentences

Conditional Sentences

Conditional Sentences: (If – Clauses) 

Conditional Sentences are also known as Conditional Clauses or If-Clauses. These sentences are actually Complex Sentences where If-Clauses are the dependent clauses.

There are four kinds of conditional sentences.  Each conditional sentence contains a different tense pattern and expresses a different shade of meaning.

 

 Examples:

  • If you freeze water, it becomes solid.
  • If you study well, you will get good marks.
  • If he went there, he would meet my friend.
  • If she had asked me, I would have helped her.

 

Points to focus:

  • Conditional sentences describe the result of a certain condition.
  • The if-clause tells us the condition – If you ask me, 
  • The main clause tells us the result – I will help you. 
  • We use a comma after the If-Clause.
  • We can begin the sentence with either clause without a change of meaning.
  • A comma is not needed if the sentence begins with the main clause.

 

Examples:

  • If you permit him, he will explain it.
  • He will explain it if you permit him.


  • If you don’t eat well, you may become weak.
  • You may become weak if you don’t eat well.

 

In every conditional sentence, we find two parts – namely, the conditional clause (also known as the subordinate clause / if-clause) and the main clause. 

Sometimes, we replace if  with the words or expressions like unless, when, so long as, as long as, in case, etc.,

 

Let’s have a glance at the types of conditional sentences and conditional sentences rules.

Conditional Sentences

Type – 0: Zero Conditional Sentence:

 

What is a Zero Conditional Sentence?

It is used to describe the things that happen in general like scientific facts and universal truths. In this sentence, we can replace if with when or whenever.

 

How to frame Zero conditional Sentence:

 If-Clause:             Present Simple (V1/V5)

 Main Clause:      Present Simple (V1/V5)

 

Examples:

  • If you heat ice, it melts. (or)
  • When you heat ice, it melts. (or)
  • Ice melts if you heat it.

 

  • If you wake up late, you go to school late. (or)
  • When you wake up late, you go to school late. (or)
  • You go to school late if you wake up late. 

 

  • If I have time, I go to the beach.
  • Whenever I have time, I go to the beach.
  • I shall go to the beach if I have time.

 

More Examples of Zero Conditional Sentences:

If you leave the object, it drops.

If you follow traffic rules, your life is safe.

If you pour oil on water, it floats.

If you take a shower, you feel fresh.

The fines are avoided if you pay the fee in time. 

I feel sad if I am alone. 

You don’t use the mobile for a long time if you don’t charge it.

 

Type – I: Probable Conditional Sentence (Open Conditional)

 

What is a Probable Conditional Sentence?

It is used to express the situations that are probable or likely to happen in the future when a certain condition is fulfilled. 

How to frame a Probable Conditional Sentence:

 If-Clause:             Present Simple (V1/V5)

 Main Clause:      Future Simple (shall/will/may/can + V1)

 

Examples:

  •  If he works hard, he will get the first class.
  •  He will get the first-class if he works hard.

 

  • If I see him, I will inform him about it.
  • I will inform him about it if I see him.

 

  • If you leave before nine, you can catch the train.
  • You can catch the train if you leave before nine.

 

  • If I had money, I would buy that big mansion.
  • I would buy that big mansion if I had money.

 

More Examples of Probable Conditional Sentences: 

If I go to the village, I will meet your parents.

If you help me, I can certainly go there.

If she gets a chance, she will prove herself.

If you listen to me, I may explain it clearly.

If my friend goes abroad, I can also plan to go with him

 

Note:

Present Continuous and Present Perfect can also be used in If-Clause.

  • If you are going to purchase the car, you can use this discount coupon.
  • Can you help me if you have finished your work?

 

Type – II: Improbable Conditional Sentence (Unreal/Doubtful)

 

What is an Improbable Conditional Sentence?

It is used to express situations that are doubtful or unlikely to happen. The events described in this conditional are imaginary, unreal and hypothetical.

 

How to frame an Improbable Conditional Sentence:

 If-Clause:             Past Simple (V2)

 Main Clause:      should/would/might/could + V1

 Examples:

  •  If he worked hard, he would get the first class.
  •  He would get the first class if he worked hard.

 

  • If I saw him, I would inform him about it.
  • I would inform him about it if I saw him.

 

  • If you left before nine, you could catch the train.
  • You could catch the train if you left before nine.

 

  • If I had money, I would buy that big mansion.
  • I would buy that big mansion if I had money.

 

Unreal Past:

Examples:

  • If I were you, I would not do that.
  • If he were younger, he would join the Army.
  • If he were the Prime Minister of India, he would help you.

 

Note:

We can also use the pattern were + to-infinitive in if-clause.

 Examples:

  • If  I were to visit Kerala I would spend all my time in Munnar.
  • If she were to write the exam again, she would certainly prepare well.

 

More Examples of Improbable Conditional Sentences:

If he asked me for help, I would not hesitate to help him.

If they appointed me as a Manager, I would join the company immediately.

If I got 1 crore in the share market, I would give you 50% of the amount.

If I were you, I would help all our friends.

If I had powers, I would jump like a Superman.

 

 

Type – III: Unfulfilled Conditional Sentence

 

What is an Unfulfilled Conditional Sentence?

It is used to express two past events that didn’t happen and did not fulfill the condition.

 

How to frame an Unfulfilled Conditional Sentence:

 If-Clause:             Past Perfect (had + V3)

 Main Clause:      should/would/might/could + have + V3

 

 Examples:

  •  If he had worked hard, he would have got the first class. 
  •  He would have got the first class if he had worked hard.

(He did not work hard and so he did not get the first class)

 

  • If I had seen him, I would have informed him about it.
  • I would have informed him about it if I had seen him.

(He did not see him and he did not inform him about it.)

 

  • If you had left before nine, you could have caught the train.
  • You could have caught the train if you had left before nine.

(He did not leave before nine.  He did not catch the train)

 

  • If I had had money, I would have bought that big mansion.
  • I would have bought that big mansion if I had had money.

         (I did not have money and so I did not buy that big mansion)

 

Note:

The sentences in type 3 can also be written in the following manner:

 Examples:

  • Had he worked hard, he would have got the first class.
  • Had I seen him, I would have informed him.
  • Had he left before Nine, he could have caught the train.
  • Had I had money, I would have bought that big mansion.

 

More Examples  of Unfulfilled Conditional Sentences:

If I had prepared well for the exams I could have written all my exams well.

If you had given clear instructions, he would not have those mistakes.

If she had watched that movie, she could have explained it to you.

If Shive had participated in this event, he could have won the prize.

Had he written his name on the book, I would not have taken it.

Had you informed me of your arrival, I would have arranged everything.

 

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