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Conditional Tenses
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Diagnostic

Cond-Diagnostic Conditional Diagnostic Quiz: a


tool to help you identify specific
points that need review Quiz 1: beginning –
intermediate
Quiz 2: intermediate –
advanced

Real or True Conditions

Pres-Future Present & Future Real Situations:


cause-effect facts & predictions
Real If there are no bees, flowers will
cause - effect facts not be pollinated. (future - cause
predictions effect prediction)
intent
If I am going to help, you need
request
to give me your full attention.
indirect request (whimpertive) (intent)
If I am to help, you need to give
me your full attention.

If you will step this way please.


(request)
If you will only try a little harder,
you will succeed. (indirect request)

Pres-Past Present & Past Real Situations:


cause-effect habits & customs
Real If I go shopping, I take a cloth
If . . . then bag.
present tense – habits If we went shopping, the store
past tense – old habits gave us a bag.
Whenever, we go shopping, we
walk.

Unreal or Hypothetical Conditions

Present Present Unreal Situations:


strategizing with hypothetical
Unreal
statements If I moved my pawn forward, then I
could take his bishop.
If . . . then
could, might,

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:35


Conditional Summary http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/conditionsum.html

Conditions - Analysis, Options & Advice

PastUnreal2 Past Unreal Situations 2:


analyzing an accident
If the night watchmen had had
If ...then binoculars, they would have been
past + participle able to spot the iceberg earlier.
could have, might have, The captain could have steered
should have directly into the iceberg causing
less damage.
The Titanic should have had
more lifeboats.

Could/Should Should / Could have: late advice


have Passengers could have taken
If ...then
past + participle other smaller trans-atlantic ships.
could have, might have, The captain could have chosen
should have a more southern trans-atlantic
route.

The owners should have


supplied enough lifeboats for
everyone .

MixedTenses Mixed Tenses: hypothetical


situations in mixed time frames
If you had fed the dog, she
past actions affect wouldn't be hungry now. (regret)
present actions
conditional statements with If I had known (that) your dog
clauses was / is agressive, I wouldn't
have offered to feed it. (noun clause
– existing truth – The dog was agressive
then and still is now.)

If I had known (that) your dog


was ill, I would have offered to
help it. (noun clause – earlier truth – The
dog was ill at that time.)

ImpliedConditions Implied Conditions: a real or


unreal situation?
Jack will cut the grass if he
conditions may be favorable has time. (present)
conditions will be / were (He doesn't know if he has time yet -
maybe.)
unfavorable

Jack would cut the grass if he


had time. (present)
(He doesn't have time.)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:36


Conditional Summary http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/conditionsum.html

Conditional Wishes

Wishes Wishes: expressing wishes and


regrets
We wish to go with you. (direct request /
request demand)
regret I wish I were home in my country. (a
private thought; longing)
longing
I wish I could go with you. (an excuse
outrage or an expression of regret)
I wish you would let me pay for
dinner. (pretend regret, or upset)
I wish you'd turn that TV off! (low
expectation request; anger)

WishAgreement Wish Agreement: tense


agreement in conditional
statements My father wished he had gone
to college. (I regret he didn't.)
Hypothetical wish – Past My father wished that I would
Agreement go to graduate school. (I did.)
Hypothetical wish – Present I wish father had understood
Agreement my appreciation. (I regret he didn't.)
A wish (that may become I wish my son understood hIs
true) grandfather's efforts. (He doesn't.)
I wish my son would
understand the importance of
hard work. (He might one day.)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:37


Conditional Summary http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/conditionsum.html

Conditional Adverbs

If / Unless If / Unless: expressing a specific


condition for an outcome
If you cook your turkey like this,
if you will have a tender turkey.
only if (with aux. verb change) (if this condition is met)

unless Only if you cook your turkey like


otherwise this, will you have a delicious
dinner.
(under this condition - emphasizes this
specific condition) .
Unless you cook your turkey like
this, you will have a tough
turkey.
(if this condition is not met)
Cook your turkey like this.
Otherwise, you will have a
tough turkey.
(if using other methods)

If / If / Whether: is it a condition or
an alternative?
Whether I don't know if my cell phone will
if - whether work here.
after a preposition I don't know whether my cell phone
before an infinitive will work here.
in indirect questions I don't know whether my cell phone
In an initial clause will work if I use it here.
informal vs. formal phrasing (alternative - whether or
not) (condition)

Omitting-If Omitting if: giving advice in


hypothetical situations
If I were/was you, I wouldn't get
omitting if involved.
were I you Were I you, I wouldn't get involved.
had I been you Had I known, I would have said
should you something.
Should you see him again, call
me immediately.

If / In Case If / In Case: stating a conditioned


vs. a precautionary action
Keep some extra batteries and
if vs. in case bottled water In case there is an
in case earthquake.
in the event Get away from falling objects if there
should is an earthquake.
unless

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:38


Present & Future Real Conditions: cause-effect facts & predictions http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition1a.html

Present & Future Real Conditions


Cause-effect facts & predictions

A bee covered with pollen – A person spraying pesticide

A conditional sentence states: in X situation, Y predictable happens.

Present & Future Conditional Statements

PRESENT FUTURE

Use if to introduce the clause with the condition (situation). The Use if to introduce the clause with the condition (situation). The
result-clause states a fact or observation as the effect of the result-clause states a prediction, calculation or estimation as
situation in the if- clause. The simple present tense is used in the effect of the situation in the if- clause. The simple present
both clauses. tense is used in the if- clause, and use a modal (will, can, may,
might, shall) is used in the result-clause.

PRESENT CONDITION FACTUAL EFFECT FUTURE CONDITION PREDICTED EFFECT

If people use pesticides they harm bees. cause- If there are no flowers will not be
in their gardens, effect fact bees, cause-effect prediction pollinated.

If a bee collects pollen the bee also collects If we can find out why we can save the bees.
from a flower, pesticide with the pollen. bees are dying,

If a large number of bees the colony collapses. If we don't find a solution, bees may disappear.
die,

colony – a group of bees and the queen


collapse – fail, die off
harm – hurt
pesticide (n.) – a chemical substance used to kill insects and small animals that destroy crops

A bee pollinating a flower


Commas

INITIAL-POSITION MID-POSITION

When the if-clause comes before the result clause, a comma is When the if-clause comes after the result clause, no comma is
used to separtate the clauses. used to separtate the clauses.

If you want local bees to survive, [comma] use less Use less toxic pesticides if if you want local bees to
toxic pesticides. survive.

If you don't believe me, [comma] ask any beekeeper. Ask any beekeeper if if you don't believe me.

survive (v.) – to continue to live after an accident, war, or illness


toxic (adj.) – poisonous, or harmful
beekeeper (n.) – a person who takes care of bee hives (boxes where bees live)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:28


Present & Future Real Conditions: cause-effect facts & predictions http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition1a.html

Other Future Conditional Verb Forms


Intent vs. Request

Be going to – Intent

FULL CLAUSE SHORTENED CLAUSE

Be going to can be used in the if-clause to express future If . . . am to + verb is a clause shortened to just the auxiliary
intent, the second clause states the condition for completion of before an infinitive verb. The if-clause expresses intent and the
the intent. (The speaker is asking for cooperation.) second clause states the condition for completion of the intent.

If I am going to help, you need to give me your full If I am to help, you need to give me your full attention.
attention.

If bees are going to be saved, we must stop using If bees are to be saved, we must stop using toxic
toxic chemicals. (passive voice) chemicals.

If you are going to arrive there on time, you had better If you are to arrive there on time, you had better leave
leave now. now.

If he is going to be home by 9:00 (intent), he ought to If he is to be home by 9:00, I will drop by / he ought
start walking by 8:30. (requirement) to start walking at 8:30. (requirement)

Will – Request / An Indirect Request

REQUEST WISH

Will is used in the if-clause to make a request or suggest an Will can be used in the if-clause to express an indirect request, a
activity. Use with you – singular or plural. whimpertive. It is a situation that is slightly more likely to happen
(optimitstic) than when using If only (a regretful wish).

If you will step this way please. (I will show you to your If he will just try a little harder, he will succeed. (wish) /
table.) If only he would try harder... (regret)

If you will kindly wait a moment please. If she will only listen a moment, I could explain
myself. / If only she would listen ... (regret)

If you will give me a moment, I'll be right with you.

If he will walk this way, please. 1st or 3rd person are not used a whimpertive (n.) a command or request phrased as a polite or
indirect question.

Common Mistakes

ERROR FIX

If you will need something, just ask. Will is used in an If you need something, just ask. (future chance of need)
if-clause as a request. (See expressions.) If you are going to need something, give us 24 hours
to get it. (future intent - requirement)
If you will need something, . . . (Need cannot be used in a
request.)

I'll come pick you up if you will be done early. Will is I'll come pick you up if you are done early. (future chance
used in an if-clause as a request. of being done)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:29


Present & Future Real Conditions: cause-effect facts & predictions http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition1a.html

Future
Expressions

Should / Happen

IF ... SHOULD IF ... HAPPEN TO

Should is used is the if-clause to express that something is Happen is commonly used in the if-clause before an infinitive
unlikely to happen. phrase. The expression means "if by chance", or that the
situation is unlikely to happen.

If you should see my phone, please let me know. If you happen to see my phone, please let me know.

If she should come by, call me. If she happens to come by, call me. (unlikely)

If you should happen to arrive early, wait for me.

Also see: Omitting If

Shortened Clauses

FULL CLAUSE SHORTENED IF CLAUSE

These are common expressions after if that include a be verb. With these expressions the subject + be are omitted. (If
necessary, If anything, if ever, if in doubt)

If [it is] necessary, scientists will work overtime If necessary, scientists will work overtime.

I doubt if [there is] any good that will come of this. I doubt if any good will come of this.

It is rare if [bees are] ever out at night Rarely, if ever, are bees out at night.

I'm not upset. If [there is] anything , I am relieved. I'm not upset. If anything, I am relieved.

If [you are] in doubt, ask for help. If in doubt, ask for help.

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:29


Present & Past Real Situations: cause-effect habits & customs http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition1b.html

Present & Past Real Situations


Cause-effect habits & customs

Present Real Conditional Expressions

IF WHENEVER

In conditional sentences that express true, factual ideas, the When, whenever, anytime, or each time can be used in place
simple present or past is used in the if-clause. of If for cause-effect statements of habits and customs.

If I go shopping, I take a cloth bag. (present) Whenever I go shopping, I take a cloth bag. (present)

If I need light bulbs, I buy CFL bulbs. (present) When I need light bulbs, I buy CFL bulbs. (present)

If we went shopping, the store gave us a bag. (past) Anytime we went shopping, the store gave us a
bag. (past)

If I needed light bulbs, I bought CFL bulbs. (past) Each time I needed a light bulb, I bought a CFL
bulb. (past)

whenever – anytime
CFL – compact fluorescent light bulb

Past vs. Present

FORMER HABIT CURRENT HABIT

Both the If-clause and the result clause use a past tense verb Both the If-clause and the result clause use a present tense verb
form. form.

If I went to the city, I drove my car. (past) If I go to the city, I take public transportation. (present)

If I left a room , I left the light on. (past) If I leave a room, I turn the light off. (present)

If I shopped for groceries, I got paper bag from the If I shop for groceries, I take take my own reusable
store. (past) bag. (present)

Clause Position – commas

INITIAL-POSITION MID-POSITION

In emphasis word order, the if clause is brought to the In standard word order, if is "sandwiched" between two
beginning of the sentence and a comma is used to mark the clauses and no comma is used.
change from standard word order.

If I went shopping, [comma] I took a cloth bag. I took a cloth bag if I went shopping. (standard word order)
(emphasis word order)

If my friends invite me, [comma] I go to their house for I go to my friends' house for dinner if they invite me.
dinner. (emphasis word order) (standard word order)

1 din 2 24.01.2011 19:11


Present & Past Real Situations: cause-effect habits & customs http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition1b.html

A Word About "Would"

Would has a few meanings:


USED TO REQUEST / INVITATION HYPOTHETICAL

Would can be used to indicate a former Would can be used to make a request or Would can indicate something
habit. invite. hypothetical or imaginary.

During the summers, I would go to Would you like a cookie? How would you like it if I did that to
my grandparents house. (custom or you?
habit) (present - imaginary)

These sentences mean almost the same:

RESULTIVE CLAUSE CONDITION

I took a cloth bag (1 event or multiple events, customary) if I went shopping.


I would take a cloth bag (multiple events, customary, 'used to')

2 din 2 24.01.2011 19:11


Present Unreal Situations: strategizing with hypothetical statements http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition2a.html

Present Unreal Situations


Strategizing with hypothetical statements

In hypothetical statements (conditional sentences) that express untrue, nonfactual ideas in the present, the past is
used in the if-clause.
The statement in the if-clause is not occurring: it is being considered as an option or plan.

Strategy and Cause-Effect Statements

Before making a move in a game like chess, a player thinks about what would happen if he or she made the move.
The player does not actually make the move, but thinks about it instead. No move is made until the player considers
several hypothetical moves. The player is analyzing options based on cause-effect relationships.

STRATEGY PRESENT UNREAL STATEMENT

A strategy states a well-thought out but imaginary action taken on A cause-effect statement with "if" is followed by a past tense
some thing or some one.. verb forms to indicate the imaginary or hypothetical situation.

Move my pawn forward to take his bishop. If I moved my pawn forward, then I could take his
bishop. (present unreal)

I could take his bishop if I moved by pawn forward. (standard word


order)

Slide my castle out of the way of his knight If I slid my castle out of the way, then his queen might
and queen. not take it. (present unreal)

His queen might not take my castle if I slid it out of the way. (standard
word order)

Checkmate his king. Make him mad. If I checkmated his king, my friend would be mad.
(present unreal)

My friend would be mad if I checkmated his king. (standard word


order)

Let my friend win. Be a good friend. If I were a good friend, I would let my friend win once
in a while. (present unreal)

I would let my friend win once in a while if I were a good friend.


(standard word order)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:31


Present Unreal Situations: strategizing with hypothetical statements http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition2a.html

Sentence Types

CONDITION HYPOTHETICAL RESULTING ACTION

STATEMENT

If I were/was a millionaire, I would buy a private jet.

If I were/was a millionaire, I could buy a private jet.

If I could choose anything, I would buy a house.

If I could choose anything, *I could buy a house. (repeating could is awkward)

Were I a millionaire, I could buy a house.


NEGATIVE STATEMENT

If I were/was a millionaire, I wouldn't take commercial airlines.

If I were/was a millionaire, I couldn't get many tax breaks.

If I could get my pilot's license, I wouldn't ever have to worry about catching a flight.
QUESTION

If you were a millionaire, would you stop working?

If you could choose, would you stop working?

was / were – We often use were instead of was after if. Both was and were are used in formal English, but only was is used in informal English.
If I were you... Were is a subjunctive verb form.

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:31


Present Unreal Situations: strategizing with hypothetical statements http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition2a.html

Mixing Time Frames

PRESENT / FUTURE CONDITION HYPOTHETICAL RESULTING ACTION

After if, were (formal) or was (informal) is used for 1st and 3rd The resulting action is imaginary. Note that phrasing for present
person singular. Either of the clauses on the left can be mixed and future tense are the same. Also note "be going to" and "go"
with the clauses on the right. expressions (go shopping/ go fishing/ go swimming) can add to
the confusion.

a) If it were not going to rain soon. (hypothetical future – I would go shopping later today. (future hypothetical – will
be going to) go)
I would shop later today. (future hypothetical – will shop)

b) If it were not raining now. (hypothetical present – be ) I would be going shopping later today. (future progressive
hypothetical – will be going)
I would be shopping later today. (future progressive
hypothetical – will be shopping)

I would be going shopping now. (present progressive


hypothetical – am going)
I would be shopping now. (present progressive hypothetical –
am shopping)

I would go shopping now. (present progressive hypothetical –


am going)
I would shop now. (present progressive hypothetical – am
shopping)

I would have gone shopping earlier. (past hypothetical -


have gone)
I would have shopped earlier. (past hypothetical - have
gone)

(The fact that it is raining now forced me to change


earlier shopping plans.)

PAST REAL (different!) PAST REAL

If it didn't rain (past real) I went shopping on the weekends. (past – custom)
If it wasn't raining (past progressive real) See Real Conditions- Past
I shopped on the weekends. (past – custom)

Also see Mixed Tenses

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:32


Present Unreal Situations: strategizing with hypothetical statements http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition2a.html

Present & Past Hypotheticals


Expressions

IF IT WAS/ WERE NOT FOR IF IT HAD NOT BEEN FOR

If it weren't for... is another way to say that one event changes If it hadn't been for... is another way to say that one past event
everything. changed everything.

If it wasn't/weren't for me, you wouldn't be here. If it hadn't been for his advice, I would have made the
(present hypothetical) wrong decision. (past hypothetical)

If it wasn't/weren't for all this homework that I have to If it hadn't been for his advice, I wouldn't be here
do, I'd go with you. (present hypothetical) now. (mixed tense hypothetical)

If it hadn't been for your help, I would have been lost.


(past hypothetical)

If it hadn't been for your help, I would still be working.


(mixed tense hypothetical)

Also see: Omitting If – Were I , Had I..., Should you...

Present & Future Hypotheticals


Expressions

IF... WERE GOING TO IF ... WAS/WERE TO

Be going to can be used in the if-clause to express a future A shortened form is used for the hypotheticals below. They use
hypothetical situation or a request. just the auxilary before an infinitive verb.

If you were going to take a trip, where would you go? If you were to take a trip, where would you go?

If the government was/ were going to legalize If the government was/ were to legalize marijuana, it
marijuana, it would have done so by now. would have a great deal of difficulty.

If you were [going] to stand a little to the left, I could If you were to stand a little to the left, I could see
see better. (a request) better. (a request)

If you were [going] to lend me a little money, I could If you were to lend me a little money, I could buy a
buy a ticket. (a request) ticket. (a request)

BUT NOT:
If you were to be on time... / If you were to
know the answer... (stative verbs)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:32


Past Unreal Situations 1: analyzing with hypothetical statements http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition2b.html

Past Unreal Situations 1


Analyzing with hypothetical statements

Hypothetical past statements are not factual (untrue): the statement in the
if-clause did not occur.
These conditional statements are often used to "step into the past", view the situation from all perspectives (sides) and
analyze the errors. Then the solutions can be found.

The Concorde Accident

In July 2000, Air France's safest aircraft - the supersonic Concorde- crashed leaving many to speculate
about what might have caused the accident. Speculation ranged from a flock of birds, to a bad repair job,
to the intake of runway debris (garbage) by one or both of the failed engines. Most experts agreed: "We
can guess that a tire or several tires on the landing gear exploded." At week's end, the French Transport
Ministry announced, "From the information available at the present time, it emerges that at least one tire
burst, something that could have triggered a chain of events, damage to the jet's structure, a fire and
engine failure."

An Analysis of the Errors

A HYPOTHETICAL PAST CONDITION A HYPOTHETICAL PAST EFFECT

The if-clause introduces a past hypothetical condition and is paired The speaker uses the effect clause to state a hypothetical, better
with a past hypothetical effect-clause. A speaker imagines a outcome to the past situation. A modal (would have, could have,
hypothetical fix to achieve a better outcome or avoid a bad might have) + participle verb form is used in the effect-clause.
outcome. A past perfect verb is used in the if-clause.

POOR INSPECTION OF JET

If the maintenance crew had done a thorough inspection they would have checked the tires, landing gear and
of the aircraft, fuel lines in engine no. 2.
If the maintenance crew had not hurried to complete
their inspection of the aircraft,

FAILURE TO REMOVE DEBRIS FROM RUNWAY

If the runway crew had cleared a strip of metal from the it wouldn't have gotten in the way of the landing gear of
runway, the Concorde.
If another jet hadn't left a strip of metal on the runway,

TIRE FAILURE

If one of the tires hadn't exploded, then perhaps it wouldn't have gone into the engine air
If one of the tires had deflated, intake.

ENGINE FIRE

If the both engines hadn't caught fire, the pilot could have made an emergency landing.
If the only one engine had caught fire,

debris (n.) – a piece of something that has fallen or broken off another jet
deflate (v.) – lose air usually because of a hole
explode (v.) – to burst into small pieces
failure (n.) – something that is old, in bad condition or produced imperfectly
hypothetical (adj.) – based on a situation that is not real, but that might happen
thorough (adj.) – very complete

1 din 2 24.01.2011 19:40


Past Unreal Situations 1: analyzing with hypothetical statements http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition2b.html

Commas

INITIAL-POSITION MID-POSITION

When the if-clause comes before the result clause, a COMMA is When the if-clause comes after the result clause, NO COMMA is
used to separate the clauses. used to separate the clauses.

If they had done their jobs well, [comma] the accident The accident wouldn't have happened if they had done
wouldn't have happened. their jobs well.

If the tire had not exploded, [comma] the engine would The engine would not have caught fire if the tire had not
not have caught fire. exploded.

Common Mistakes

ERROR FIX

If the pilot hadn't flew the jet down like a glider, it would If the pilot hadn't flown the jet down like a glider, it
of crashed into Manhattan. would have crashed into Manhattan.

(1)Use the participle form of the verb: fly – flew – flown.


Pop-q "Hudson"
(2)Use have not of , which sounds similar, but is
incorrect.

2 din 2 24.01.2011 19:40


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Connectors for Condition


Other Hypothetical Phrasing

Introducing Condition vs. Outcome

INTRODUCE THE CONDITION INTRODUCE THE EFFECT

Use a conjunction (if, even, if, only if) to join the condition-clause Use an adverb (if not, otherwise, or else) to join the effect-clause
to the effect-clause. to the condition-clause.

IF – a condition IF NOT

If the pilot hadn't made a sharp right turn at the end of The pilot made a sharp right turn at the end of the
the runway, he would have crashed into a runway. If not, he would have crashed into a
neighborhood (of homes). neighborhood (of homes).

EVEN IF – no condition OTHERWISE – if not

Even if the pilots had shut down the fuel tank on engine There were no birds in the area. Otherwise, they could
2, there still would have been enough escaped fuel to have been a possible cause of engine failure. See If /
cause the explosion. Unless
It made no difference either way - no condition. See Indeed / Even

ONLY IF – one unique condition OR ELSE – if not

Only if the pilots had avoided the runway debris, could The French Transport Ministry grounded all Concordes,
they have avoided the accident. or else Air France would have continued flying its
See only if. Concordes.

Also see If / Unless for other conditional connectors.

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:41


Past Unreal Situations 1: analyzing with hypothetical statements http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition2b.html

Sentence Forms
Word Order

Word Order

SENTENCE
CONDITION CLAUSE EFFECT CLAUSE
TYPE
STATEMENT

If they had checked, they could have made repairs.

the problem would have been found. (passive)

they would have seen the worn tires.


QUESTION

If they had checked, would they have seen the problems?

Had they checked,


NEGATIVE

If they had checked, they wouldn't have let the jet leave the hangar. hangar
– aircraft garage

If they hadn't been in a hurry, they would have kept the jet in the hangar.

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:41


Past Unreal Situations 2: analyzing an accident http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition3a.html

Past Unreal Situations 2


Analyzing an accident

What Caused the Titanic to Sink?

CONDITIONS LEADING TO THE ACCIDENT HYPOTHETICAL CAUSE - EFFECT STATEMENTS

When we reflect on a past accident, we analyze the conditions Hypothetical past statements are not factual (untrue). The
to understand what we needed to do to avoid the accident. Read statement in the if-clause did not occur. These conditionals state
the following conditions and determine what errors were made. what we could have done to avoid or change the course of a
tragedy.

Speed - The Titanic was trying to beat a trans-Atlantic If the Captain had cruised at a lower speed and
time crossing record. postponed setting a 'crossing' record, the watchmen
might have spotted the iceberg in time.

Lifeboats - The Titanic had lifeboats and preservers If the White Star Line had included more life boats in
for less than half of the people on board the design of the Titanic, all the people would have
survived.

Conditional Tense Structure

The past conditional is used to speculate about past events: plans and actions that did not occur. Typically, would
have, could have, should have are used, and occasionally, might have and may have.

HAD + PAST PARTICIPLE MODAL + HAVE + PARTICIPLE

In the if-clause, state the situation or condition that unfortunately In the other clause, indicate the hypothetical action resolving the
did not occur. problem. Usually, the verb takes the form of would have, could
have or should have + participle.

If Jack had seen the iceberg, he would have told the captain.
(the hero in the Titanic movie)

If Rose had known it, she could have left him earlier.
(the main character in the Titanic movie)

If Molly had talked any longer, she would have put everyone to sleep.
(a character in the movie)

If Cal had been a better man, he might have acted in a kinder manner.
(the villain in the movie)

If-Clause Order

COMMA NO COMMA

Use a comma to separate the two clauses when the if-clause Use no comma when the if-clause comes second.
comes first.

If we had known the movie was long, we would have We would have gotten some popcorn if we had known
gotten some popcorn. the movie was long.

If we had gotten here earlier, we could have found We could have found better seats if we had gotten here
better seats. earlier.

1 din 2 24.01.2011 19:13


Past Unreal Situations 2: analyzing an accident http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition3a.html

Practice
Analysis: looking at the whole situation

When we analyze a catastrophe such as the sinking of the Titantic, we try to find the factors, the human
errors, which lead to the disaster.

speed radio-operator on the nearby ship California, had


insufficient number of lifeboats his radio off.
binoculars not enough / insufficient lifeboats
ship design insufficiently filled lifeboats
angle of impact gates locking 'steerage passengers' below deck
emergency response time of Titanic crew calling Titanic "unsinkable"

2 din 2 24.01.2011 19:13


Should / Could have: late advice http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition3b.html

Should / Could have


Late advice

Considering Options and Advice in the Past


After a disaster, such as the sinking of the Titanic, we often analyze the options we had at the time. Then we make
recommendations by selecting the most important things that need to be changed.

COULD HAVE SHOULD HAVE

OPTIONS OR OPPORTUNITIES NOT TAKEN THE MOST IMPORTANT OPTIONS OR ADVICE NOT TAKEN

"Could have" is used for non-essential advice. There are many things "Should have" is used for more urgent advice. These are the key, most
that could have been done. Maybe, they would have made a difference, important, things that would have made a difference. (After the Titanic
maybe not. Inquiry, they became recommendations for changes in maritime rules.)

Passengers could have taken other smaller The owners should have supplied enough lifeboats
transatlantic ships. for everyone.

The captain could have chosen a more southern The captain should have insisted on better
transatlantic route. emergency preparation.

The owners could have pressed designers to include The passengers should have asked about the
more safety floatation compartments. number of lifeboats.

Watchmen could have asked the captain to slow down The captain should have been cruising more slowly
due to fog. in the northern ship lanes.

"Could have"- had the opportunity, but didn't take it

OPTIONS HYPOTHETICAL CAUSE - EFFECT STATEMENTS

more life jackets The owners could have supplied more life jackets
(but they didn't.)

emergency drills The captain could have held emergency practices (but
he didn't.)

not enough contact with other ships in the area The captain could have radioed other ships in the
area about iceberg sightings (but he didn't.)

Two meanings - don't confuse them!

POSSIBILITY HYPOTHETICAL OPTIONS / CHOICES

The captain could have been overconfident. The captain could have refused to pilot the ship.

The Titanic could have been off course, too far north. The captain could have held emergency practices
(drills.)

The captain of the ship California could have ignored The White Star Line could have supplied more boats.
the call.

1 din 2 24.01.2011 19:14


Should / Could have: late advice http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition3b.html

"Should have"- advice given after-the-fact

ADVICE HYPOTHETICAL CAUSE - EFFECT STATEMENTS

more life boats and better deployment (lowering them) The owners should have had enough space in the
lifeboats for everyone on board. The crew should
have known how to lower them even if the ship was
tipping over.

faster emergency response from other ships in the area The captains of the California and Carpathia should
have had their radios on. They should have
responded to the distress flares that were shot in the
sky.

better vigilance (watching) in shipping lanes where The captain should have listened to earlier reports of
icebergs exist icebergs in the area.

2 din 2 24.01.2011 19:14


Mixed Tenses: hypothetical situations in mixed time frames http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition3c.html

Mixed Tenses
Hypothetical situations in mixed time frames

Past Events Affect Present Situations

REAL SITUATION HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION

When a cause-effect situation occurs in different time frames, it The same situation can be stated hypothetically with an implied
can be stated as a real situation – past ==> present. meaning of regret or praise.

You did not feed the dog, so the dog is hungry now. If you had fed the dog, she wouldn't be hungry now.
(regret)

You fed the dog, so the dog isn't hungry now. (She is If you hadn't fed the dog, she would be hungry now.
content.) Thank you! (praise)

The dog couldn't go outside, so the dog peed on the If the dog had gone outside, she wouldn't have peed
floor. on the floor. (regret)

The dog went outside, so the dog didn't pee on the If the dog hadn't gone outside, she would have peed
floor. on the floor. (praise)

The dog didn't go outside, so the dog is peeing on the If the dog had gone outside, she would wouldn't be
floor now. peeing on the floor now. (regret)

pee (informal) –urinate

Conditional Sentences with a Clauses

EXISTING TRUTH PAST / EARLIER TRUTH

The present or past tense can be used when adding a clause The past or past perfect is used when adding a clause with a
with a statement that is still true. (Some speakers prefer to keep statement that is in a temporary-past or earlier-past time frame.
all tenses in the past time frame if referring to a past event.)

If I had known (that) your dog is / was agressive, I If I had known (that) your dog was ill, I would have
wouldn't have offered to feed it. (noun clause – existing truth – offered to help it. (noun clause – past truth – The dog was ill at
The dog was agressive then and still is now.) that time.)

If we had gone to the cafe (that) is outdoors, we would If we had gone to the concert (that) was outdoors, we
have gotten wet in the rain. (adjective clause – existing truth – would have gotten wet in the rain. (adjective clause – past
The cafe was and still is outdoors.) truth – The concert was there, but is not now.)

If I had known the size (that) you wear, I would have If I had known the size (that) you wore, I would have
bought you a coat. (adjective clause – existing truth then and bought you a coat. (adjective clause – past truth – You used to
now) wear that size, but do not now.)

If I had known (that) your brother is / was so If I had known (that) your brother had been an
competitive, I wouldn't have offered to race him. (noun Olympic runner, I wouldn't have offered to race him.
clause – existing truth then and now) (noun clause – earlier past truth – He was an Olympic runner..)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:14


Wishes: expressing wishes and regrets http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition4a.html

Wishes
Expressing wishes and regrets

Making a wish can be anything from one's private thought to imposing one's will on others. Note the subtle
differences in the "wishes" below.

Present Wishes – Real vs. Unreal

A WISH THAT CAN COME TRUE AN IMAGINARY WISH

Use wish to + verb to make a wish that can come true or to Use wish + past tense verb form to express a wish about a
express a desire or request. hypothetical (imaginary) situation. The past tense verb form is
called "subjunctive".

We wish to go with you. (direct request / demand) I wish I were home in my country. (a private thought;
longing)

We'd like to go with you. (more formal request) I wish I could go with you. (an excuse due to inability, or an
expression of regret)

I hope (that) we can go with you. (suggestion / request) I wish you would let me pay for dinner. (pretend regret, or
upset)

* I wish (that) I can go with you. (incorrect) I wish you'd turn that TV off! (low expectation request;
anger, outrage)

Past Wishes – Unreal

A PRESENT WISH ABOUT THE PAST A PAST WISH ABOUT THE PAST

Use wish + could/would + have + participle to express regret Use wished + could/would + have + participle to express
about a past action that did not happen. regret about a past action that did not happen.

I wish I could have gone with you. (regret over a lost I wished I could have gone with you. (remembering a
opportunity) lost opportunity)

I wish you would have remembered to take the dog I wished I had been old enough to drive. (remembering
out. (nagging, anger) a wish)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:17


Wishes: expressing wishes and regrets http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition4a.html

Variations in Meaning
Regret, Upset & Lost Opportunity

WISH – Regret vs. Upset

HAD PARTICIPLE WOULD HAVE

Using the past perfect verb form expresses regret over a past "Would have" expresses dissatisfaction and emphasizes
action that failed to occur. someone's unwillingness to do something.

I wish the store had had that shoe is my size. (I regret I wish the store would have had that shoe is my size.
they did no t have my size.) (I am unhappy they are unwilling or have chosen not to restock or carry
my size.)

I wish you had let me know that you were coming. (I I wish you would have let me know. (I am displeased you
regret you did not let me know.) were unwilling to communicate.)

I wish they had called before coming. (I regret they did I wish they would have driven instead of us. (I am
not call.) upset they were unwilling to drive.)

I wish my boss had bought us laptops instead of I wish my boss would have bought us laptops
desktop computers. (I regret he did not buy laptops.) instead of desktop computers. (I am angry he was unwilling to
do so.)

WISH – Lost Opportunity vs. Upset

COULD HAVE WOULD HAVE

"Could have" expresses regret over inability to do something – "Would have" expresses dissatisfaction and emphasizes
physical or mental. The situation is a lost opportunity. someone's unwillingness to do something.

I wish the store could have had that shoe is my size. I wish the store would have had that shoe is my size.
(They were unable to do so due to temporary stock limitations.) (I am unhappy they are unwilling or have chosen not to restock or carry
my size.)

I wish you could have let me know. (You were unable to I wish you would have let me know. (I am displeased you
do so because you could not get to a phone.) were unwilling to communicate.)

I wish they could have driven instead of us. (They I wish they would have driven instead of us. (I am
were unable to drive due to not having a license or being physically upset they were unwilling to drive.)
incapable.)

I wish my boss could have bought us laptops instead I wish my boss would have bought us laptops
of desktop computers. (He was not able to buy laptops due to instead of desktop computers. (I am angry he was unwilling to
budget limitations.) do so.)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:17


Wishes: expressing wishes and regrets http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition4a.html

If Only
A Doubtful Wish

Wish vs. If only

WISH IF ONLY

Use I wish… to express an imagined situation. We use wish to Use if only to express a wish – one that you are doubtful about
say that we want things to be different. actually happening. The result clause is optional and is
separate. It is more emphatic than I wish…

I wish I had more time so that I could relax! If only I had more time!

I wish I could go home for vacation, then I would be If only I could go home for vacation. I would be so
so happy. happy.

I wish you were here! If only you were here!

I wish you would travel with me. (future) If only you would come with me. (future)

I wish she hadn't told told her mother everything. If only she hadn't told her mother everything. (past)

Also see Only if (a condition)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:17


Wish Agreement: tense agreement in conditional statements http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition4b.html

Wish Agreement
Tense agreement in conditional statements

My Father's Wish
My father wished he could have finished high school when he was young, but he had to go to work to support his
family instead. When I was born, he wished that I would not only finish high school but also go to college. He
worked hard to send me to college. I managed to graduate with honors. Now, I have a child and I wish that he will go
to college. I encourage him to work hard. I wish he would understand how hard his grandfather and father have
worked to give him a good life. He doesn't comprehend it right now, but I hope he will when he is older.

Hypothetical Wish – Past Agreement

A PAST WISH ABOUT AN EARLIER


A PAST WISH ABOUT AN PAST EVENT A PAST WISH ABOUT A FUTURE EVENT
EVENT

WISHED + PAST PERFECT Use "had gone" or "would go". WISHED WOULD + VERB ( Action may
or may not happen.)

My father wished he had gone to My father wished that I went to My father wished that I would go to
college. (I regret he didn't.) college graduate school.

Hypothetical Wish – Present Agreement

A PRESENT WISH ABOUT AN EARLIER A PRESENT WISH ABOUT A PRESENT A PRESENT WISH ABOUT A FUTURE
EVENT EVENT EVENT

WISH + PAST PERFECT WISH + PAST WOULD + VERB ( Action may or may
not happen.)

I wish father had understood my I wish my son understood hIs I wish my son would understand
appreciation. (I regret he didn't.) grandfather's efforts. (He doesn't.) the importance of hard work.

A Wish (that may become true)

A PAST WISH ABOUT A FUTURE EVENT A PRESENT WISH ABOUT A FUTURE EVENT

WISHED TO +VERB WISH TO +VERB cannot use an indirect object

My father wished to go to college. (Maybe he did.) I wish to go to graduate school. (Maybe I will.)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:19


Wish Agreement: tense agreement in conditional statements http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/condition4b.html

Wishes Followed by a That-Clause or an Infinitive Phrase

THAT-CLAUSES INFINITIVE

These words introduce a wish with a that-clause and will or would. These words
introduce a
wish with an
infinitive
phrase.

My mother hopes (that) I will be an engineer. My father


wished me
to become
an
engineer.

My mother hoped (that) I would be an engineer. My


grandfather
wanted me
to be happy.

My grandfather prays (that) I will be happy. My


grandfather
would like
me to be
happy.

Common Mistake

ERROR FIX

I wish I can go to graduate school. I wish to go to graduate school. (a real possibility)

I hope I can go to graduate school.

I wish my son to go to graduate school. I wish my son would go to graduate school. (He might.)

I want my son to go to graduate school. (My will against


his.)

I wish I was a college graduate. (informal; not incorrect) I wish I were a college graduate. (formal English)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:19


If / Unless: expressing a specific condition for an outcome http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/9-7.html

If / Unless
Expressing a specific condition for an outcome

If / Unless

IF UNLESS

If introduces a clause with a condition (one of many) to achieve Unless (if...not) introduces a (dependent) clause with a
a specific outcome. The (dependent) clause may be placed condition that is an exception to achieving the outcome in the
before or after the the main (independent) clause. main clause.

OUTCOME — IF OUTCOME – EXCEPT IF / IF NOT

You will have a tender turkey if you cook it slowly. You will have a tender turkey unless you overcook
it.

You will have a tough turkey if you overcook it. You will have a tough turkey unless you cook it
slowly.

We'll arrive at 8:00 if our train is on time. We'll arrive at 8:00 unless our train is late.

If you wish, we'll bring some champagne. Unless you object, we'll bring some champagne.

Clause Placement & Punctuation

STANDARD PLACEMENT EMPHASIS PLACEMENT

When the if-clause or unless-clause is placed after the main When the if-clause or unless-clause is placed before the main
clause (medially), NO COMMA is used. clause (initially), a COMMA is used.

We'll bring some champagne If you wish. If you wish, we'll bring some champagne.

We'll bring some champagne unless you object. Unless you object, we'll bring some champagne.

Tense Use

PRESENT / PAST FUTURE

When discussing habits or routines, the present or the past However, when discussing future plans, the present tense is
tense can be used in conditioned statements. See Pres-Past usually used to refer to the future in the unless-clause or
Conditions if-clause.

We usually arrive at 8:00 if our train is on time. We will arrive at 8:00 if our train is on time.
We usually arrived at 8:00 if our train was on time. We will arrive at 8:00 if our train will be on time.

We always arrive at 8:00 unless our train is late. We'll arrive at 8:00 unless our train is late.
We always arrived at 8:00 unless our train was late. We'll arrive at 8:00 unless our train will be late. Use
present tense.

1 din 3 24.01.2011 19:19


If / Unless: expressing a specific condition for an outcome http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/9-7.html

Connectors for Condition vs. Outcome

CONDITION OUTCOME

If / only if / unless / provided that (a conjunction) introduces a Otherwise / or else (if...not) introduces a clause with a the
clause with a specific condition to achieve an outcome. likely outcome if you do not do the action in the clause or
sentence before it.

If you use a thermometer, you will know when your turkey is done.
This is one way to tell when it's ready. There may be other ways as well.

Only if you use a thermometer, will you know when your turkey is done.
There is only one way to tell when it's done. (Specifically, use this way.)

Provided that you use a thermometer, you will know when your turkey is done.
There is only one way to tell when it's done. (Specifically, use this way.)

Unless you use a thermometer, you won't know when your turkey is done.
Not using a thermometer will give bad results. (Listen to me!)

Use a thermometer. Otherwise, you won't know when your turkey is done.
(Introduces an independent clause)

Use a thermometer, or else you won't know when your turkey is done.

Note: Sometimes, using the negative form is a way for the speaker to impose his/her will. Compare: "Are you tired?" and "Aren't you tired?". The
speaker, when using the negative, wants the listener to agree.

Only If
Word Order – Transposition

Only IF (at the beginning of the sentence)

CONDITION OUTCOME

Conjunction Condition (followed by a comma) The auxiliary verb moves in front of the subject in the if-only-clause.

If you dry your dishes with a towel, they will be spotless!

Only if you dry your dishes with a towel, will they [will] be spotless!

If you use Zing dish soap, you get really clean dishes.

Only if you use Zing dish soap, do you [do] get really clean dishes. (get = do get)

If you used Zing dish soap, you got really clean dishes. (got = did get)

Only if you used Zing dish soap, did you [did] get really clean dishes.

2 din 3 24.01.2011 19:19


If / Unless: expressing a specific condition for an outcome http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/9-7.html

Note: If there is no auxiliary verb , you will need to add one.

A Condition vs. A Wish

ONLY IF IF ONLY

Us only if to indicate the one condition required to achieve a Use if only to express a wish – one that you are doubtful about
desired effect. (under one condition) When used at the actually happening. The result clause is optional and is
beginning of the sentence the auxiliary verb is moved before the separate. It is more emphatic than I wish…
subject.

Only if you dry your dishes with a towel, will they be If only I had more time! I could relax.
spotless!

Only if you clean up your room, will you find your lost If only you would clean up your room. You would find
jeans. your lost jeans.

Your windows will be clean enough to see your face If only I had some Zing window cleaner.
only if you wash them with Zing!

I will please my mother-in-law only if my house is clean. If only I could please my mother-in-law.

I am happy only if you are here. / Only if you are here, If only you were here!
am I happy.

She was pleasant only if we told her what she wanted If only he hadn't told his mother everything.
to hear.

Also see Wishes (only if)

Even if & Whether or not

EVEN IF WHETHER OR NOT

Even if introduces a clause with a challenging or negative Whether or not introduces a dependent clause in which the
condition. The speaker is saying that no condition will stop the condition or its alternative does not stop the completion of the
outcome. Even if emphasizes the speakers intent to achieve the outcome in the main clause. That is, if the condition exists or if
outcome or goal without regard for a difficult or negative the condition does not exist, the outcome will or must happen
condition. anyway. Whether can be split apart from or not by the subject
and verb phrase of the clause. See If / Whether

OUTCOME CHALLENGING CONDITION OUTCOME THE CONDITION DOESN'T MATTER

I'll help you even if I don't have much I'll help you whether or not I have much
time. time.

I like to walk to work even if it is raining. I like to walk to work whether it is raining or not .

Your father loves you even if your father doesn't Your father loves you whether or not he says it.
say it

He'll get his work done even if he has to work all He'll get his work done whether or not we wants to
night. work all night.

alternative (n.) – something you can choose to do or use instead of something else

3 din 3 24.01.2011 19:19


If /Whether: Is it a condition or an alternative? http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/if-whether.html

If / Whether
Is it a condition or an alternative?

In many cases, if and whether can be used interchangeably without affecting the meaning. Below are some subtle
differences in formal use.

A CONDITION AN ALTERNATIVE

Use if to indicate one condtion that requires an action. If X is Use whether to indicate two conditions, alternates, that require
true, then do Y. an action: yes or no, X or Y. If X or Y is true, then do Z. (Note
that both if or whether are commonly used in an embedded
question.)

Let me know if you get cell phone reception. (one Let me know if / whether you can get cell phone
condition) reception. (yes or no – either condition)

He asked me if I had an idea. (one condition) He asked me if / whether I had an idea or a plan.
(either condition)

Pop-Q 8/9/2009

Both Alternatives Given

IF WHETHER

If – is less commonly used when both sides of an alternative are Whether – is more commonly used when alternatives are
given. stated.

He asked me if my phone was receiving cell service or He asked me whether my phone was receiving cell
not. (informal) service or not.

He asked me if I was using ATT or Verizon mobile He asked me whether I was using ATT or Verizon
service. (informal) mobile service.

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:21


If /Whether: Is it a condition or an alternative? http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/if-whether.html

After a Preposition

IF WHETHER

If – is NOT USED after a verb + preposition phrase introducing Whether – is used after a verb + preposition phrase introducing
an alternative. an alternative.

I was concerned about if we could get cell phone I was concerned about whether we could get cell
reception. (NOT used) phone reception.

We were interested in if we could receive cell service We were interested in whether we could receive cell
on the mountain top. (NOT used) service on the mountain top.

We're not sure about if a cell phone would work there. We're not sure about whether a cell phone would
(NOT used) work there.

Before an Infinitive

IF WHETHER

If – is NOT USED before an infinitive phrase introducing an Whether – is sometimes used before an infinitive
alternative. phrase introducing alternatives.

I can't decide if to move to the right or to the left. (NOT I can't decide whether to move to the right or to the
used) left.

It was unclear if to stand in the middle of the room or It was unclear whether to stand in the middle of the
near the window. (NOT used) room or near the window.

In Indirect Questions

IF WHETHER

If – is commonly used in indirect questions. Some formal usage Whether – is commonly used in indirect questions to introduce
restricts if to introducing conditional clauses. an alternative (whether or not)

I don't know if my cell phone will work here. I don't know whether my phone will work here.
STATEMENT : I don't know QUESTION: Will my phone work
here?

I don't know whether my cell phone will work if I use it


here.
(alternative - whether or not) (condition)

Do you know if there is cell phone service in Yosemite Do you know whether there is cell phone service in
Park? Yosemite Park?
STATEMENT : Do you know QUESTION: Is there cell phone
service in Yosemite?

Do you know whether there is cell phone service if


standing in Yosemite?
(alternative - whether or
not) (condition)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:22


If /Whether: Is it a condition or an alternative? http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/if-whether.html

Formal Contexts

IF WHETHER

If – is not commonly used in formal contexts when introducing an Whether (or not) introducing an alternative clause is used both
alternative clause. (This is an unusual, old rule that is formally and informally.
still included in college English entrance exams.)

The President declined to say if he would give up The President declined to say whether he would
his personal Blackberry. (formal context) give up his personal Blackberry.
My friend didn't say if she would give up her cell phone.
(informal context)

The Congressman was uncertain if the health bill The Congressman was uncertain whether the
would pass. (formal context) health bill would pass.
Bob was uncertain if his if his son would pass the 5th
grade. (informal context)

We discussed if we would lay off employees. We discussed whether we would lay off employees.

The members hadn't settled on if they would The members hadn't settled on whether they would
accept the offer. accept the offer.

In an Initial Clause

IF WHETHER

If – is not used in a clause at the beginning of a sentence when Whether – is more commonly used in a clause at the beginning
introducing an alternative (but not true for conditional clauses.) of a sentence when introducing an alternative (whether or not).

If the battery is charged is my biggest concern. (NOT Whether the battery is charged is my biggest
used) concern. (alternative)
My biggest concern is if the battery is charged. My biggest concern is whether the battery is
(alternative - less commonly used)
charged. (alternative)
If the battery is charged, my phone works well.
(condition - commonly used) Whether or not the battery is charged my phone
doesn't work. (no condition exists - even if)

If my cell phone works there is a mystery to me. Whether my cell phone works there is a mystery to
(NOT used) me. (alternative)
It is a mystery to me if my cell phone works there. It is a mystery to me whether my cell phone works
(alternative - less commonly used)
there. (alternative)
If my cell phone works there, I'll be surprised.
(condition - commonly used) Whether or not my cell phone works there, I won't
accept calls. (no condition exists - even if)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:22


Omitting IF: giving advice in hypothetical situations http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/10-8.html

Omitting IF
Giving advice in hypothetical situations

Were / Had / Should

IF CONDITIONAL VERB PHRASES

If can be omitted from a conditional sentence. Omitting if Were, had and should may be used in place of if. Omit if and
shortens the if-clause and places more emphasis on the result move the auxiliary verb in front of the subject. (Should is also
clause. used to mean in case.)

If I were you, I wouldn't get involved. Were I you, I wouldn't get involved.

If I had known, I would have said something. Had I known, I would have said something.

If you should see him again, walk the other way! Should you see him again, walk the other way!

was / were – We often use were instead of was after if. Both was and were are used in formal English, but only was is used in informal English.
If I were you...

Conditional Clause - Word Order Change

CONDITIONAL CLAUSE WORD ORDER CHANGE RESULT CLAUSE

If I were you, [If] Were I [were] you, I would have asked him to pay me
back

If the police had come, [If] Had the police [had] come, they would have stopped him.

If he comes back, [If] Should he [should] come call me.


back,

Other Adverbs

IF OTHER CONDITIONAL ADVERBS

If you need to reach me, call my cell phone. (Do this after In the event (that) you need to reach me, write down
X happens.) my phone number. (Do this before X happens.)

In case you need to reach me, I keep my cell phone on.


(Do this after X happens.)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:23


If / In case: stating a conditioned vs. a preparatory action http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/9-6.html

If / In case
Stating a conditioned vs. a precautionary action

Normally, if and in case differ in meaning; however, for some speakers in case and should are also used to mean
if .

A Conditioned Action vs. a Prepared Action

ACTION CONDITION PRECAUTION URGENT CONDITION

Do this action after X happens (or might happen). Do this action before X happens (or might happen).

Use the batteries and if there is an earthquake. Keep some extra in case there is an
bottled water … batteries and bottled earthquake.
water on hand...

Use the fire extinguisher if there is a kitchen fire. Buy a fire extinguisher … in the event (that) there
… is a kitchen fire.

Use the first-aid kit … if you cut yourself. Have a first-aid kit on hand should you cut yourself.

on hand (adj.) – something that can be used or can be easily found


precaution (n.) – something you do in order to prevent something dangerous or unpleasant from happening

See If - Statements

Precaution Expressions

PRECAUTION URGENT SITUATION

Do this action in preparation for a possible urgent situation. This is the urgent situation (emergency, urgent situation, or a
predictable situation).

Keep your cell phone charged … in the event (that) you need to use it.

Carry your cell phone … in case you need to call me for a ride.

Write down my phone number … should you need to reach me,

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:23


If / In case: stating a conditioned vs. a preparatory action http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/9-6.html

Tense Agreement

PRESENT PRECAUTION URGENT SITUATION PAST PRECAUTION URGENT SITUATION

Use present, present Use present tense for the Use past tense for habitual Use past tense in the clause
progressive or future tense in urgent-situation clause precautions in the past, with the urgent situation.
the precaution clause. especially with used to or
would.

We store emergencies in the event (that) an We would keep in the event (that) an
supplies nearby … accident occurs. emergencies supplies accident occurred. (past
nearby … habit)

The men keep a canary in case the air turns The men kept a canary in case the air turned
with them in the coal bad. (present habit) with them in the coal bad. (past habit)
mines … mines …

I will carry an umbrella in in case it rains. (Do not I used to carry an in case it rained. (past
my car trunk … use future.) umbrella in my car trunk habit)

Clause Order – commas

INITIAL POSITION MID-POSITON

Use a comma when placing the conjunction and its clause at the Use no comma when the conjunction is between the two clauses.
beginning of the sentence.

In the event (that) you need to reach me, carry your Carry your cell phone in the event you need me.
cell phone.

In case you need to reach me, carry your cell phone. Carry your cell phone in case you need me.

Should you need to reach me, carry your cell phone. Carry your cell phone should you need me.

Common Mistakes

ERROR FIX

Call me in case you need help. Call me if you need help. (Call me at the moment you need
help, not before.)
Pop-Q – "in case" I'll keep my phone turned on in case you call and need
help. (I'll turn it on as a precaution.)

Let's hide in case he comes in. Let's hide if he comes in. (Hide at the moment he comes in, not
before.)

He has left his car keys with the neighbor in his in case He left his car keys with the neighbor in his in case
someone needs to move his car. someone needs to move his car.

(Present perfect is used to focus on time: duration or recency. There is


no need to focus on time. This is a simple series of events. Use past
tense.)

1 din 1 24.01.2011 19:24