[Conditional Sentences] – Lesson 4: Third conditional

Structure of the third conditional
positive negative question
If I’d (I had) known you were coming, I would have waited for you. If she hadn’t (had not) been ill, she would have gone to the cinema. Would you have done it if you’d (you had) known earlier?

 

The third conditional – common mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
If I would have asked him, he would have helped me. If I had asked him, he would have helped me. In the if-clause we use the past perfect (had + pastparticiple). We don’t use ‘would’ or ‘would have’ in the if-clause.
If you had spoken to my mother, she would tell you where I was. If you had spoken to my mother, she would have toldyou where I was. The main clause has
would + have + past participle.

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[Conditional Sentences] – Lesson 3: Second conditional

Structure of the second conditional
positive negative question
If I had more time, I’d (I would) travel more. I wouldn’t (would not) refuse if you offered me $10,000. What would you say if you met Queen Elizabeth?
If I were you, I’d leave the job. I wouldn’t (would not) leave the job if I were you. Would you leave the job if you were me?

 

The second conditional – common mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
If I would have enough money, I would buy a new computer. If I had enough money, I would buy a new computer. We use the past simple (here I had) in the if-clause. It shows we are talking about something which is unlikely to happen or is an imaginary situation.
If you didn’t hurry so much, you will feel more relaxed. If you didn’t hurry so much, youwould feel more relaxed. The main clause has would + infinitive.

[Conditional Sentences] – Lesson 2: First conditional

Structure of the first conditional
positive negative question
If I see him, I’ll (I will) tell him. If you don’t hurry, you’ll miss the bus. What will you do if there is a problem?

 

The first conditional – common mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
If you will go to England, you will improve your English. If you go to England, you will improve your English. We use the present simple in the if-clause.
If I find his address, I send him the letter. If I find his address, I will send him the letter. We use will in the main clause, to express certainty in the future.
I’ll tell him if I will see him. I’ll tell him if I see him. We use the present simple in the if-clause.

[Conditional Sentences] – Lesson 1: Zero conditional

Structure of the zero conditional
positive negative question
If/when you heat water to 100 degrees, it boils. If/when you don’t heat water to 100 degrees, it doesn’t boil. What happens if/when you heat water to 100 degrees?

 

The zero conditional – common mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
If/when people eat too much, they will get fat.

Water boils when it will reach 100°C.

If/when people eat too much, they get fat.

Water boils when it reaches100°C.

We use the present simple in both clauses of the zero conditional. We are saying that the condition can be true at any time (it is a fact).
If means the same as when in a zero conditional sentence. We can also use whenever.