Friday, May 6, 2016

Conditionals in the English Language

I think English is a really fun language, and the nuanced ways you can use it are one of the reasons I think it's so enjoyable. The conditionals in English are incredibly versatile, so today I'd like to look at just three of them, the zero conditional, first conditional, and second conditional.

Zero Conditional

The zero conditional is used when we are talking about things that are almost always true or factual. In its simplest form, we can use the word "if" and two present simple clauses.

"If" + present simple, present simple.

E.g.: "If your heart stops, you die." / "You die if your heart stops."

First Conditional

We use the first conditional when we talk about things that we think are probable and are predicting will happen in the future. While there are several ways to create the first conditional, we usually do it in the following way:

"If" + present simple, "will" + infinitive (without "to").

E.g.: "If you win the league, I will buy you some pizza." / "I will buy you some pizza if you win the league."

Second Conditional

The last of the conditionals we are going to look at today is the second conditional. We can use this when we think of hypothetical or imaginative situations and results that take place in the present or the future (there's another conditional for things in the past). Here is one of the most common and easiest ways to form the second conditional:

"If" + past simple, "would" + infinitive (without "to").

E.g.: "If I won the lottery, I would buy a yacht." / "I would buy a yacht if I won the lottery."

As you can see from these examples, you can put the conditional clause (the part with the word "if") either before or after the main clause (the result of the condition). However, when the main clause is before the conditional clause, you don't need a comma between the two clauses.

We hope you found these examples and explanations useful, and that you have fun using English conditionals to express yourself in this wonderful and fascinating language.