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The Zero Conditional

We can make a zero conditional sentence with two present simple verbs (one in the 'if clause'
and one in the 'main clause'):

 If + present simple, .... present simple.

 If I eat peanuts, I am sick. (This is true only for me, maybe, not for everyone, but it's still
true that I'm sick every time I eat peanuts)
 If water reaches 100 degrees, it boils. (If = when / whenever)
 If you press the switch, the computer comes on.

This conditional is used when the result will always happen. So, if water reaches 100 degrees, it
always boils. It's a fact. I'm talking in general, not about one particular situation. The result of the
'if clause' is always the main clause.
The 'if' in this conditional can usually be replaced by 'when' or ‘whenever’ without changing the


IF = ‘AKO’ - REAL SITUATIONS – refers to the FUTURE

Conditional clause Main clause

1. If + Present Tense Future / imperative /Modal + inf
a. If you help me with the dishes, I will help you with your homework.
b. If it doesn’t rain, we’ll be having a picnic.
c. If we’re expecting the visitors, the flat will need a good clean.
d. If you’ve finished with the computer, I’ll put it away.
e. If the disco has finished, we might be able to get some sleep.
f. If you see Mr Fox tonight, tell him I am ill. (imperative).
g. If Ben gets up early, he can catch the bus.
h. If Henry jogs regularly, he might lose weight.


IF = ‘DA’ + PREZENT / KAD BI(H)… - hypothetical situations – imaginary or unreal
Would/could/might + inf
2. If + Past Tense

a. If I ate cake, I would get fat.

b. If I didn’t have a car, I would find it difficult to get about.
c. If Rachel was playing her stereo, it wouldn’t be so quiet in here.
d. If I were you, I would ask a lawyer for some advice.
e. If we had a calculator, we could work this out a lot quicker.
f. If Rachel worked harder, she might do even better at her studies.


3. If + Past Perfect Tense would have + past participle
a. If we had gone earlier, we would have got better weather.
b. If I had had my mobile yesterday, I could have contacted you.
c. If we had stopped to buy a newspaper, we might have missed the
Inversion: Had we gone earlier, ….
Had I had my mobile yesterday, …


1. The conditional construction does not normally use will or would in if-
clauses. EXCEPTION: If will or would express willingness, as in requests, they can be
used in if-clauses.
e.g. If you will come this way, the manager will see you now.
I would be grateful if you would give me a little help.
(= ± please, come this way; please, give me...)

2. With SHOULD
Should you see John, can you give him a message?
If (by any chance) you (should) see John, …

If you happen to see Jack, could you ask him to call me?

4. For the second conditional, were replaces was:

If I were a rich man...
If you should happen to see Jack, could you ask him to call me?

5. WERE TO + Verb (after If in a 2nd Conditional clause)

If they were to offer me the job, I’d turn it down.
Were they to offer me the job, I’d turn it down.


If it weren’t for Jim, this place would be in a mess.
If it hadn’t been for their goalkeeper, United would have lost.

7. BUT FOR + noun (can replace IF NOT)

If you hadn’t helped us, we would have been in trouble.
But for your help, we would have been in trouble.

Instead of if not, we can use unless.

e.g. I'll be back tomorrow unless there is a plane strike.
He'll accept the job unless the salary is too low.

I’ll do what you say provided the police are not informed.
Even if it rains, we’ll still go for a picnic.
Suppose/supposing you won the football pools, what would you do?

There is a possibility that Jack will be late. If so, I will take his place. If not, I won’t.

Colloquial omission of it
Sit down, and I’ll make us a cup of tea.
If interested, apply within.
If necessary, take a taxi.
The room was well-furnished, if a little badly decorated. (if = although)


Unreal conditionals (type II + III) sometimes can be mixed, that is, the time of the if clause is
different from the one of the main clause.

1. Past → Present
 If I had taken an aspirin, I wouldn't have a headache now.
 If he had booked a table, we wouldn’t be standing here in a queue.
2. Past → Future
 If I had known that you are going to come by tomorrow, I would be in then.
3. Present → Past
 If she had enough money, she could have done this trip to Hawaii.
 If you needed help, you should have asked me.
4. Present → Future
 If I were you, I would be spending my vacation in Seattle.
5. Future → Past
 If I weren't flying to Detroit, I would have planned a trip to Vancouver.
6. Future → Present
 If I were taking this exam next week, I would be so happy.