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Conditionals

Conditionals

Normally conditional sentences are called conditionals. These sentences usually contain the conjunction IF. Sometimes they are called 'if clauses'.

Types of Conditionals

There are mainly two types of conditionals:
  • The Real Conditionals and
  • The Unreal Conditionals

The real conditionals

The real conditionals express factual or habitual conditions which have the possibility to occur in the future or generally occur in the present.
Example:
  • I’ll go if you give me the ball.
  • If I feel better, I’ll certainly play.
  • If you do well in the exams, I’ll buy you a gift.

Structures of the Real Conditionals:

For Future Conditions
If + subject + simple present tense + subject + will/can/may/must + verb in base form. . .
Subject + will/can/may/must + verb in base form. . . + if + subject + simple present tense
Example:
  • If I have the money, I will buy a new phone.
  • I can make you cry if you keep doing that.
  • If he goes there, he may get robbed.
  • If you go outside, you must wear heavy clothes.

For Habitual Conditions
If + subject + simple present tense + subject + simple present tense. . .
Subject + simple present tense + if + subject + simple present tense. .
Example:
  • If I have the money, I always buy the necessary things.
  • If Alex gets a break, he usually calls me.
  • He works hard if the payment is good.

For Commands
If + subject + simple present tense + command form (simple present) . . . . . 
Command form (simple present). . . . .  + if + subject + simple present tense. 
Example:
  • If you have the money, use it wisely.
  • Please call me if you get a chance.








The unreal conditionals

The unreal conditionals express hypothetical conditions which have no possibility to occur in the past, present or future but describe what could/might have occurred supposedly.
Example:
  • If I were rich, I would travel my whole life.
  • If I had a car, I could go anywhere.
  • If we had not missed the train, we would have reached the city.

Structures of Unreal Conditionals:

For Present/Future Conditions
If + subject + simple past tense + subject + would/could/might + verb in base form. . .
subject + would/could/might + verb in base form + if +subject + simple past tense
Example:
  • If I had the money, I would buy a new phone.
  • If I were the president, I would not support war policies.
  • If he were not ill, he could come with us.
  • If I could play tomorrow, I would definitely win the match.

For Past Conditions
If + subject + past perfect tense + subject + would/could/might + have+ verb in past particple form
Subject + would/could/might + have + verb in past participle form + if + subject + simple past tense
Example:
  • If I had played well, we would have won the match.
  • I could have caught you if you had been a little closer.
  • If he had written well, I could have given him a better mark.

Note: There is another structure of unreal conditional which does not use the conjunction ifHad replaces ifand creates a conditional sentence.

Had + subject + verb in past participle + subject + would/could/might + have + verb in past participle
Example:
  • Had I reached earlier, I could have caught the train.
  • Had she found the watch, she would have told me.

Source: Learn Grammar

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