There are many techniques for teaching English, this is just one that may help members …
I am going to tell you about conditionals. There are basically 4 conditionals.
Let’s start with the REAL conditionals …
Condition 0 = FACT! (Always True)
If you jump into water you get wet!! (YUK!)
NOTE: Both side use the present simple.
Condition 1 = FUTURE (Prediction, Expectation, Promise, Intention, warning, advice)
If you jump into water you will get wet!! (OK so I will not do that!)
But is this a prediction, promise, warning …etc (well that depends on the context or the situation when spoken.)
Use: “going to” get wet instead of “will” for an intention.
e.g. if you intend to jump into that river, you are going to get wet!
OK so far so good. Now let’s look at the other two. The ANALYSIS conditionals …
The first thing to connect in your mind is that real words such as was, will, can, shall …etc are replaced with analysis words … were, would, could, should …etc
Condition 2 = Analysis of a current fact.
What is a current fact? A current fact is how things are now!
Look at yourself NOW! You are looking at the monitor. This is the current fact!
Now you want to analyse… you want to know what might happen if you close your eyes. Could you still read this text???
OK so let’s analyse the current fact :
If you closed your eyes, you could not read this text!
NOTE: The IF side uses simple past forms including continuous in my examples …
You are wearing clothes! (hopefully… smile) BUT …
If you were not wearing clothes you would be cold.
(whoops why “were”?) Simple, this conditional is unreal/an analysis (see above)
You are sitting on a chair BUT …
If you were not sitting on a chair, you could be standing.
OK so hopefully the fact is that you have understood BUT …
If you did not understand, you should read the text again!! (smile. I just analysed!!)
Condition 3 = Analysis of a past fact.
Now we come to the conditional that many people find hard, but in reality it is so easy!
Think!! Things happen in the past. Maybe we went somewhere, did something, ate something … and this past action lead to a current situation! Many times the current situation is not what we want (oh no!!!) So now we analyse the past to learn …
OK here is a situation. Yesterday I ate Chicken. The chicken was unfortunately not cooked properly. OH NO!!! and I had a Bad Belly Ache! (Ouch!) I had to take horrible medicine All this happened yesterday)
Now I want to know …
If I had not eaten that chicken yesterday, I would not have had belly ache and would not have had to drink that horrible medicine.
Another Situation …
Last week I did not get up early enough. I did not hear my alarm clock! My boss was very angry!
So now I analyse the past again.
If I had heard my alarm clock and had got up early enough, my boss would not have been angry with me.
NOTE; The IF side in this case uses the past perfect with HAD + VERB. The other side uses the present perfect form with would have + verb. I have used would have, you can also use could have, should have …etc depending on the situation and your meaning.
To end this little lesson … it is good to know that although between REAL and UNREAL/ANALYSIS conditionals we change “will” to “would”, “can” to “could” …etc, the word “might” can be used in all.
Hopefully this helps people towards a better basic understanding.
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