A conditional sentence is a sentence where one action depends on another action. There are four types:
- Zero conditional
- First conditional
- Second conditional
- Third conditional
Talks about something as a fact.
- If you eat a lot, you put on weight.
- The cat meows if you talk to it.
- When she goes shopping, she buys expensive clothes.
Talks about the result of a possible future event. The present simple tense is used in the if-clause, and the future simple tense used in the main clause.
- If I see her, I’ll tell her.
(if-clause/present simple/possible future event – main clause/future simple/result)
- If you cook the dinner, I’ll wash the dishes.
- She’ll be late if the train is delayed.
Talks about the result of an unlikely event or something untrue being true. The unlikely event or untrue thing is in the if-clause.
- If you became an insomniac, you would understand.
(if-clause/unlikely event/If you became an insomniac – the result of an unlikely event/you would understand)
- If I met the King, I would invite him for tea and biscuits.
- If I were Karen, I would buy that house.
(untrue/If I were Karen – result/I would buy that house)
- She would travel all over the world if she were rich.
Talks about how an event would be different with a different past. The different past is in the if-clause.
- If my alarm had gone off, I wouldn’t have missed my bus.
(if-clause/different past/If my alarm had gone off – event would be different/I wouldn’t have missed my bus)
- If she had apologised, I wouldn’t have been so angry.
- I would have gone to the shop if it hadn’t rained.