Conditional Sentences

Conditional sentences play a crucial role in conveying hypothetical situations and their potential outcomes. They are ubiquitous in everyday language, appearing in various forms and structures across different contexts. Understanding conditional sentences is essential for effective communication and comprehension in both spoken and written discourse. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of conditional sentences, exploring their types, structures, and usage.

Types of Conditional Sentences: Conditional sentences can be categorized into four main types, each expressing a different degree of possibility or likelihood:

  1. Zero Conditional: The zero conditional expresses general truths or facts that are always true. It is formed using the present simple tense in both the “if” clause (condition) and the main clause (result).


  • If you heat ice, it melts.
  • When it rains, the ground gets wet.
  1. First Conditional: The first conditional expresses real or likely situations in the present or future. It is formed using the present simple tense in the “if” clause and the future simple tense (will + base verb) in the main clause.


  • If it rains tomorrow, we will stay indoors.
  • If you study hard, you will pass the exam.
  1. Second Conditional: The second conditional expresses unreal or hypothetical situations in the present or future. It is formed using the past simple tense in the “if” clause and the modal verb “would” (or “could” or “might”) plus the base verb in the main clause.


  • If I won the lottery, I would travel around the world.
  • If she were here, she would help us.
  1. Third Conditional: The third conditional expresses unreal or hypothetical situations in the past. It is formed using the past perfect tense in the “if” clause and the modal verb “would have” plus the past participle in the main clause.


  • If I had studied harder, I would have passed the exam.
  • If they had arrived on time, they wouldn’t have missed the train.

Structures and Usage: Conditional sentences follow a specific structure where the “if” clause presents the condition, and the main clause presents the result or consequence. The choice of tense and modal verbs depends on the type of conditional and the timing of the situation being described.

  • Zero Conditional: Present simple tense in both clauses.
  • First Conditional: Present simple tense in the “if” clause, future simple tense in the main clause.
  • Second Conditional: Past simple tense in the “if” clause, modal verb “would” (or could/might) plus base verb in the main clause.
  • Third Conditional: Past perfect tense in the “if” clause, modal verb “would have” plus past participle in the main clause.

Usage of conditional sentences extends beyond hypothetical scenarios. They are commonly used in everyday conversation, storytelling, academic writing, and literature to convey various meanings, such as possibility, probability, advice, regrets, and polite requests.

The sentence that begins with if known as conditional sentence.

Remember, had, were, in case, unless, provided, provided that, providing that, when can be used instead of If.

Try to understand If Clause and Main Clause

If ClauseMain Clause
1.       If I wake up early,I go jogging.
2.       If I have enough money,I will go to Japan.
3.       If I have enough time,I’ll watch the football match.
4.       If I had wings,I would fly.
5.       If I had time,I would drop you off at school.
6.       If he had been careful,he wouldn’t have had that terrible accident.
Main ClauseIf Clause
1.       I go joggingIf I wake up early.
2.       I will go to JapanIf I have enough money.
3.       I’ll watch the football matchIf I have enough time.
4.       I would flyIf I had wings.
5.       I would drop you off at schoolIf I had time.
6.       He wouldn’t have had that terrible accidentIf he had been careful.

 There are four types of Conditional sentences

ConditionalUsage If clauseMain clause
1.       ZeroGeneral truths Simple presentSimple present
2.       Firstpossible and very likely  Simple presentSimple futureImperative sentencesubject+can/may+verb1
3.       Secondpossible but very unlikely Simple pastsubject+would/could/might+verb1
4.       Thirdimpossible  to fulfill Past perfectsubject+would/could/might+have+verb3

Four types of Conditional sentences in details

Zero conditionalIf + Simple present + Simple present
First conditionalIt is possible and very likely that the condition will be fulfilled.If + Simple present , sub + shall/will/can/may + verb1 + ext.If + Simple present, Imperative sentence
Second conditionalIt is possible but very unlikely, that the condition will be fulfilled.If + Simple past , sub + would/could/might+ verb1 + ext.Or, Were I a bird, I would fly at large.Or, Had I enough money, I would start a business.
Third conditionalIt is impossible that the condition will be fulfilled.If +past perfect, sub + would/could/might+have+verb3+ext.Or, Had I seen her before, I would have disclosed the truth.

Conditional sentences are indispensable tools for expressing hypothetical situations and their potential outcomes. By understanding the types, structures, and usage of conditional sentences, one can enhance their communication skills and effectively convey complex ideas and scenarios. Whether in casual conversations or formal writing, mastering conditional sentences empowers individuals to express themselves with clarity and precision.

If my husband has a cold, I usually catch it. If public transport is efficient, people stop using their cars. If you mix red and blue, you get purple. If this thing happens, that thing happens. If people eat too much, they get fat. Snakes bite if they are scared. If babies are hungry, they cry If you cross an international date line, the time changes. If it rains, the grass gets wet. Wood doesn’t burn if there is no air. If you do not exercise, you gain weight. If I don’t study, I don’t do well on tests. If you are not on time, you lose one mark. If  it rains, tennis lessons are held in the gym. If Rana is out of the office, I take his calls.  If you heat ice, it melts. Ice melts if you heat it. When you heat ice, it melts. Ice melts when you heat it. If it rains, the grass gets wet. The grass gets wet if it rains. When it rains, the grass gets wet. The grass gets wet when it rains. If you freeze water, it becomes a solid. Plants die if they don’t get enough water. If water reaches 100 degrees, it boils.  You get water if you mix hydrogen and oxygen. If you touch a fire, you get burned. People die if they don’t eat. If I eat peanuts, I am sick. 
The zero conditional is also often used to give instructions, using the imperative in the main clause.
If Ashraf phones, tell him to meet me at the cinema. Ask me if you’re not sure what to do. If  you want to come, call me before 5:00. Meet me here if we get separated. If he gets there before me, ask him to wait. If you leave the room, turn off the lights. Enter through the left if you have your ticket already.
Complete the following sentences using first conditional
If I invite you, you (come). If it rains, I (not go) to school. If I want, he (give) me. If they ask, he (disclose). If I (see) him, I will call him. If you run in the rain, you (catch) cold. If you work hard, you (prosper) in life. Memory will not go out if it (rain). If you finish the work in time, you (get) a prize. If they come, I (be) happy. If you write the letter, I (post) it. If it (rain), I will not go to play. If he reads attentively, he (pass). If it rains, I (go) to the park. If I study today, I (go) to the party tonight. If I have enough money, I(buy) some new shoes. She (be) late if the train is delayed. She (miss) the bus if she doesn’t leave soon. If I see her, I (tell) her.(a) If we rise early —. (b) If they are wise, —. (c) — if we eat rice and bread. (d) — if he walks fast. (e) — if I keep the door open. (f) If she agrees to his proposal, —. (g) — if we show kindness to the poor.  (h) If anybody dies for his country, —. (i) If anyone becomes greedy, —. (j) If the wind blows gently, —. (k) If anyone does something great, —. (l) — if you believe me. (m) — if the rich found a hospital. (n) —– if you feel them. (o) If you boil the water much, —. (p) If she cuts her fingers, —.
Complete the following sentences using second conditional
If her uncle (arrives), I would meet him. If I (know) her phone number, I would call her. If I got a student visa, I (get) a great chance to study abroad. If I (am) a king, I would help the poor. If you (come) here, I would give you the news. If he studied regularly and seriously, he (do) well in the examination. If I were a king, I (help) the poor.  If he requested me, I (go) there.  If they tried, they (succeed). If I were a bird, I (fly). If he came, I (go). If I had enough money, I (set) up a hospital. If you tried, you (do) it. If I had extra books, I (lend) him. If I had the wings of a Dove, I (fly) to you.(a) If the child stood in the sun, —. (b) — if the driver left the car on the street. (c) — if the fog melted. (d) If a student was sincere, —. (e) If the river flew gently, —. (f) If the court forgave the convicts, —. (g) If she bought a costly dress, —. (h) — if he listened to his advice. (i) If he wanted my help, —.  (j) — if you did not dig holes in the road. (k) If you did not find it, —. (l) — if they chose the right man. (m) If a teacher taught properly, —. (n) If she laughed more, —. (o) — if he sold it. (p) — if they knew your results.
Complete the following sentences using third conditional
If he had studied very seriously, he (make) a bright result. If she had not missed the interview, she (get) the job. If I had had your number, I (call) you but I had forgotten it. I (order) a taxi if you had told me. I would not have said that if I (have) there. Had I the wings of a bird, I (fly) like a bird. If I had been a rich man, I (help) the poor. Had I been a rich man, I (help) the poor. We would have come, if he (invite) us.(a) If you had clung to your decision, —. (b) If he had cried loudly, —. (c) If he had called me at night, —. (d) If a student had learnt his lessons regularly, —. (e) If you had dealt well with your servants, —. (f) If a mother had fed her baby in time, —. (g) If my friends had heard my results, —. (h) If my parents had got my brilliant results, —. (i) — if nobody had disturbed them. (j) — if you had answered my letter. (k) — if you had left me. (l) — if you had paid him. (m) — if she had got a good wool. (n)  — if you had lent me some money. (o) If they had told lies, —.  (p) — if students had spent their time idly. (q) — if Oli he had slept less.