Conditionals - Learn Here

There are many techniques for teaching English, this is just one that may help members …

THEME: Conditionals.

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!) :frowning:

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 …

Another fact:
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)

Another fact:
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 :frowning: 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.

TOEIC Test Preparation Online.

HamburgEnglish said:

I always thought things happened in the past?

Typo or just another confusing grammatical form?

Nope, not a grammatical error.

Things happen in the past - means this is a non specific fact.

Things happened in the past relates to specific actions.

My meaning is as written. “Things happen in the past”, a fact!

Naturally things also “happen in the future” and “happen in the present”

Don’t worry, non-native speakers always have a problem with fact statements. I hope this helps you.


Yes, it did help. I think I wasn’t fully awake this morning when I responded. :oops:

Are you really in Hamburg?

That’s where I am from originally. :smiley:

Smile … I am everywhere … Yes I currently live in Hamburg.

I am a qualified international business English language trainer, approved TOEIC test trainer and authorized TOEIC/TOEFL administrator. I operate Hamburg-English, a training organization for companies in the international marketplace that need to improve English proficiency. Hamburg-English offers in-company training to companies in the Hamburg Area.

Hamburg-English also operates, a worldwide online training course for people wishing to improve their business English and prepare correctly and properly for the TOEIC test.

We also operate, a service for the English level placement of personnel for training and for need location.

As you can see, I am really everywhere …smile. So you speak German then?


Yes, I’m a native German speaker.

I have found out though that I get a little frustrated with it.

Talking to my mother on the phone, trying to explain to her something on the computer, I often don’t find the appropriate words in German as I do everything in English.

I should be on a site where I can learn all these technical German expressions that so easily come in English, but elude me in my native language. :oops: