4 Types of Conditional Sentences in English

What is the conditional sentence?

A conditional sentence is a type of sentence that states a condition and the outcome of that condition occurring. Conditional sentences are made up of a dependent clause and an independent clause joined to express said condition.

A conditional sentence contains an independent clause and a dependent clause that almost always begins with “if.” A conditional sentence is only a conditional sentence if it has both of these parts.

Examples:

  • If I save money. I can travel abroad for a vacation. (here in this sentence the dependent clause If I save money, but the independent clause I can travel abroad.)
  • If you finish your homework early. You can watch T.V. (here in this sentence the dependent clause If you finish your homework early but the independent clause you can watch T.V.)

Types of conditional if sentences

1.Zero type

We use it to talk about the real world, scientific facts.

Form: If + present simple(condition) + present simple (result)

Examples:

1-If it rains, the streets get wet.
2- If you heat ice it melts.
3-If you mix yellow and blue, you get green.
4-If you pour oil on water, it floats.
5-If you eat too much you become fat.
6-If you smoke, you get old early.
7-If you make a cake, you firstly break eggs.
8-If you boil water, it evaporates.
9-If you are tired, you go to bed.
10-If water reaches 100 degrees, it boils.

2.Type 1

A possible condition and its probable result

Form: If + present simple (condition) + will + verb+ infinitive

Examples:

1-If I have a lot of money. I will travel abroad.
2- If she invites me, I will go.
3- If you don’t leave now, I will call the police.
4- If I study well, I will pass the exam.
5- If it rains, I will cancel the party.
6- If I win the lottery, I will buy a new house.
7-If you don’t hurry, you will miss the train.
8-If you drive fast, you will make an accident.
9-If I finish my work early, I will go to the cinema tonight.
10-If you don’t sleep early, you will miss your work tomorrow.

3.Type 2

The sentence describes that going to the party can happen but the speaker doesn’t believe there is a high chance they will be invited.

Form: If + past simple (conditional sentence) + past simple + would + verb + inf

Examples:

1-If I had a lot of money, I would travel to Paris.
2-If it rained, you would get wet.
3-If you went to bed earlier, you wouldn’t get tired.
4-If I studied very well, I would get high marks.
5-If I finished my work early, I would visit my uncle.
6-If I came home earlier, I would prepare dinner.
7-You wouldn’t miss the flight, If you went early to the airport.
8-If I had your phone number, I would call you.
9-If it didn’t rain, we would go on a picnic.
10-If she knew the answer, she would win the prize.

4.Type 3

We use it for an unreal past condition and its probable result in the past.

Form: If + Past perfect +would had + p.p

Examples

1-If I had never met you, I wouldn’t here now.
2-If it had rained last week, we would have stayed home.
3-If he had studied very hard, he wouldn’t have failed in the exam.
4-If I had had a lot of money, I would have traveled abroad.
5-If the student had listened to the teacher carefully, he would have answered the questions very well.
6-If he had gone to a picnic, he would have had a lot of fun.
7-If the museum had opened, we would have gone there.
8-If I had passed my exam, I wouldn’t have been sad.
9-If you had lost the keys, you wouldn’t have opened the house.
10-If you hadn’t taken me with you, you wouldn’t have enjoyed the concert.

See Also
What are the relative clauses?
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