Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Conditional Setences - First Certificate and Advanced Levels

First Certificate and Advanced level students have spent time working on Conditional Sentences.

To help those studying the first, second and third conditionals, here is a helpful guide, followed by some practice exercises:

First, Second, 
& Third Conditional

Fine modulo

Conditional Clause and Main Clause

If I have enough money,
conditional clause    

I will go to Japan.
    main clause

I will go to Japan,
main clause    

if I have enough money
    conditional clause

First, Second, and Third Conditional

1. First conditional:

If I have enough money, I will go to Japan.

2. Second conditional:

If I had enough money, I would go to Japan.

3. Third conditional:

If I had had enough money, I would have gone to Japan.

Conditional clause

Main clause

1. If + Present Tense

will + inf / present tense / imperative

a.        If you help me with the dishes (if + pres),
I will help you with your homework.
(will + inf)

b.      If the sum of the digits of a number is divisible by three,
the number is divisible by three (Pres. tense)

c.       If you see Mr Fox tonight, tell him I am ill. (imperative).

2. If + Past Tense

would + inf

3. If + Past Perfect Tense

would have + past participle

We do not normally use will or would in the conditional clause,
only in the main clause.

Uses of the Conditional

1.      First conditional

a.       Nature: Open condition, what is said in the condition is possible.

b.      Time: This condition refers either to present or to future time.
e.g. If he is late, we will have to go without him.
If my mother knows about this, we are in serious trouble.

2.      Second conditional

a.       Nature: unreal (impossible) or improbable situations.

b.      Time: present; the TENSE is past, but we are talking about the present, now.
e.g. If I knew her name, I would tell you.
If I were you, I would tell my father.
Compare: If I become president, I will change the social security system. (Said by a presidential candidate)
If I became president, I would change the social security system. (Said by a schoolboy: improbable)
If we win this match, we are qualified for the semifinals.
If I won a million pounds, I would stop teaching.

3.      Third conditional

a.       Nature: unreal

b.      Time: Past (so we are talking about a situation that was not so in the past.)
e.g. If you had warned me, I would not have told your father about that party.(But you didn't, and I have).


1. The conditional construction does not normally use will or would in if-clauses. EXCEPTION: If will or would express willingness, as in requests, they can be used in if-clauses.

e.g. If you will come this way, the manager will see you now.
I would be grateful if you would give me a little help.
(= ± please, come this way; please, give me...)

2. For the second conditional, were replaces was:

If I were a rich man...

3. After if, we can either use "some(-one, -where...)" or "any(-one, -where...).

If I have some spare time next weekend....or :
If I have any spare time...

4. Instead of if not, we can use unless.

e.g. I'll be back tomorrow unless there is a plane strike.
He'll accept the job unless the salary is too low.

5.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 warned me [then], I would not be in prison [now].

First Conditional Form

1) If I  (go) out tonight, I  (go) to the cinema...

2) If you  (get) back late, I  (be) angry...

3) If we  (not/see) each other tomorrow, we  (see)each other next week...

4) If he  (come) , I  (be) surprised...

5) If we  (wait) here, we  (be) late...

6) If we  (go) on holiday this summer, we  (go) to Spain...

7) If the weather  (not/improve) , we  (not/have) a picnic...

8) They  (go) to the party if they  (be) invited...

9) If I  (not/go) to bed early, I  (be) tired tomorrow...

10) If we  (eat) all this cake, we  (feel) sick ..

Second Conditionalhttp://img34.glitterfy.com/350/glitterfy9112121820D34.gif   

1. Poor William! Complete the sentences with the correct verb. In the sentences where both was/were are possible, use were:

a) If William  (not/watch) so many horror films, he  (not/be) scared of the dark.

b) If William  (be) braver, he  (not/feel) frightened of thunder and lightning.

c) If William  (not/spend) so much time playing video games, he  (get) better grades at school.

d) If William  (ate) healthier food, he  (not/be) ill so often.

e) If he   (not/be) ill so often, he  (not/miss) so many classes.

f) If his parents  (not/allow) him to drink so much coke, he   (sleep) much better.

g) If William  (sleep) better at night, he  (start) his day with more energy.

h) If he  (start) his day with more energy, he  (do) many more things.

i) If William  (practice) a sport, he  (keep) fit and healthy.

j) If he  (keep) fit and healthy, he  (feel) more confident.

k) If he  (feel) more confident, his self-esteem  (increase).

l) If his self-esteem  (increase), he  (not/have) so many problems to sleep at night.

An exercise on the Third Conditional

Inizio modulo

Fine modulo

Inizio modulo

1) Use the word: begin
If the seminar 
 at 10:00 we would have been on time.

2) Use the word: call
If the customer 
 earlier I would have told her to try your cell phone.

3) Use the word: fix
If you had informed us of these problems by 8:00 a.m. we 
 them this morning.

4) Use the word: increase
If you had adopted that marketing strategy your profits 

5) Use the word: learn
Your employees 
 everything about the program if you had sent them to that training session.

6) Use the words: meet & give
If I 
 with the customer yesterday I  her your card.

7) Use the words: do & produce
Your company 
 better financially if you  for the international market.

8) Use the words: think & succeed
If you 
 more positively you  .

9) Use the words: use & "to be"
If you 
 biodegradable products it  better for the environment.

10) Use the words: see & visit
 Mr. Johnson if we  the factory last week.


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