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Grammar bytes 1.0 Conditionals!

This series focuses on the subject that makes learning a new language a bit harder, grammar! We have all said at one point or another “I want to learn to speak and focus less on grammar” but the ugly truth is, grammar is just as important for speaking as it is for writing. That’s why we decided to give you some “bytes” of it through this series.

Today’s edition is: Conditionals

Conditionals are used to discuss hypothetical actions and their outcomes.

Conditionals are also often referred to as “If clauses”.

There are 4 types of conditionals:

Conditional Zero:

This conditional is used to refer to statements that are generally true and factual.

The form:

  • Simple present sentence+ If+ Simple present sentence
  • If+ Simple present sentence, Simple present sentence


  • You get green if you mix blue and yellow
  • If you mix blue and yellow, you get green.

Conditional 1 or First Conditional

This conditional is used to talk about real and possible situations.

The Form:

  • Will sentence+ If+ Simple present sentence
  • If+ Simple present sentence, Will sentence


  • I will go to the beach if the weather is nice
  • If the weather is nice, I’ll go to the beach

Conditional 2 or Second Conditional

This conditional is used to talk about unlikely/unreal situations.

The Form:

  • Would sentence+ If+ Simple past sentence
  • If+ Simple past sentence, Would sentence


  • I would get a new suit if I got a new job.
  • If I got a new job, I would get a new suit

Note: For sentences where the verb “to be” is used in the simple past sentence, the past form is “were”, which puts more emphasis on the “unlikeliness” of the situation.

Example: If I were you, I would try harder to pass the test.


Conditional 3 or Third Conditional

This conditional is used to speak about regrets and unreal situations.

The Form:

  • Would have sentence+ If+ Past Perfect sentence
  • If+ Past perfect, Would have sentence


  • She would have won if she had tried harder.
  • If she had tried harder, she would have won.

Things to keep in mind!

  • For the second conditional, were replaces was:
    • If I were a lawyer, I’d work in the best law firm in the city.
  • Instead of if not,we can use unless.
    • I’ll be back tomorrow unless the flight gets delayed.
      He’ll accept the job unless the salary is too low.
  • There is a “mixed type” as well, for the present results of an unreal condition in the past:
    • If + Past Perfect – would + inf.
      If you had told me about it [then], I would not be so mad about it [now].
  • Punctuation is very important when it comes to conditionals, especially commas.
  • Use a comma after the if-clause when the if-clause precedes the main clause.


  • If I’d had time, I would have cleaned the house.
  • If the main clause precedes the if-clause, no punctuation is necessary.


I would have cleaned the house if I’d had time.