Understanding Conditionals I: First Conditional

We use First Conditionals to talk about events which are possible. The Conditional clause can refer to the present or the future.

Conditional clause main clause
If + Present Simple – will + bare infinitive

  1. If we hurry, we’ll catch the bus.
  2. If we miss it, there’ll be another one.

The Conditional clause can come before or after the main clause. We use a comma at the end of the Conditional clause when it comes first.

  1. If I hear any news, I’ll phone you.
  2. I will phone you if I hear any news.

Other structures are possible, depending on what you want to say.
Conditional clause main clause
If + Present Simple – modal verb
If + Present Simple – be going to (future)
If + Present Simple – Imperative
If + Present Continuous – will + bare infinitive
If + Present Perfect – will + bare infinitive
If + Present Perfect – modal verb
Imperative – and/or + will

Exercises: Put the verbs in brackets into the correct form.

  1. If you (see) Tom (tell) him I have message for him.
  2. If you’d like some ice I (get) some from the fridge.
  3. That book is overdue. If you (not take) it back to the library tomorrow you (have) to pay a fine.
  4. If you (want) to see some of his drawings I (send) them round to your office.
  5. (take) more exercise and you’ll soon feel better.

Answers:

  1. If you see Tom tell him I have message for him.
  2. If you’d like some ice I will get some from the fridge.
  3. That book is overdue. If you don’t take it back to the library tomorrow you will have to pay a fine.
  4. If you want to see some of his drawings I will send them round to your office.
  5. Take more exercise and you’ll soon feel better.

Note: Conditional clauses are often used in imperative structures. Present Simple in Conditional clause and imperative in the main clause.

When you are talking about a possible situation in the present, or a possible future occurrence, you usually use the simple present tense in the conditional clause and the simple future tense in the main clause.
If the sentence starts with the Imperative verb, you use simple future tense in the main clause.

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1 Response

  1. April 25, 2015

    […] the previous post, we have written about First Conditional. In this post, we continue this series by talking about Second […]

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