Conditional sentences consist of a main clause and a conditional clause (sometimes called an if-clause). The conditional clause usually begins with if or unless. The conditional clause can come before or after the main clause.
Conditional clauses - Easy Learning Grammar
- We’ll be late if we don’t leave now.
- We’ll be late unless we leave now.
- If we don’t leave now, we’ll be late.
- Unless we leave now, we’ll be late.
- If you take the first bus, you’ll get there on time.
- She’ll be cold if she doesn’t wear a coat.
- If you need more helpers, I can try and get some time off work.
- They will not finish their homework unless they start now.
- If you book early, you will get a seat.
- If you book early, you may get a seat.
- Mary might deliver your parcel, if you ask her.
- If Jim lent us his car, we could go to the party.
- We would save £3.50 a day if we didn’t eat any lunch.
- If burglars broke into my house, they wouldn’t find any money.
- Would you be very angry if I failed my exam?
- If I were you, I’d phone her straight away.
- If I won the lottery, I would buy a house in France.
(…but I don’t think I’ll win the lottery.)
- If you didn’t spend all your money on lottery tickets, you could afford a holiday.
(…but you do spend all your money on lottery tickets.)
- If I were you, I’d tell them the truth.
- We could have had a longer holiday, if we hadn’t spent so much money on the house.
- If I had known about the exam, I would have paid more attention in class.
- The if-clause uses the present simple tense and the main clause uses the present simple tense. This is used to refer to universal truths.
- If you heat water to 100°C, it boils.
- Plants die if they don’t get enough water.
- The if-clause uses the present simple tense and the main clause is in the imperative. This is used to give advice or orders for particular situations or sets of circumstances.
- If the alarm goes off, make your way outside to the car park.
- If a red light shows here, switch off the machine.
- The if-clause uses the present continuous or present simple tense and the main clause uses a modal verb. This is used to make suggestions and give advice.
- If you’re thinking of buying a lawnmower, you could try mine first.
- You should turn down his radio if you don’t want the neighbours
- to complain.
- The if-clause uses will/would and the main clause uses a modal verb.
- If you’ll wait a minute, the doctor can see you.
- If you would sign here, please, I’ll be able to send you the books.
Note that a ’d in the main clause is the contracted form of would. However, a ’d in an if-clause is the contracted form of had.In the main clause the contracted forms of the modals used in speech and informal writing are:
- I’d have gone if he’d invited me.
- I would have gone if he had invited me.
- I would’ve gone if he’d invited me.
|I’d have||or||I would’ve|
|I could’ve||I might’ve|