Grammar - Summary


This table will help you understand English conditionals better:

probability conditional example time
CERTAIN
 
zero conditional If you touch fire,you get burnt. any time
PROBABLE
 
first conditional If I win the lottery, I will buy a new flat. (You think you might win the lottery!!)
future
HYPOTHETICAL, IMPROBABLE
 
second conditional If I won the lottery, I would buy a new flat. (You think you probably won't win, but you still have some hope...)
future
PAST, IMPOSSIBLE
  third conditional If I had won the lottery, I would have bought a new flat. (Bad luck! You played the lottery but you did not win...)
Equivalence with Spanish structures
Notice that English conditionals are the same as Spanish conditionals:
- If you touch fire, you get burnt (Si tocas el fuego te quemas): PRESENT - PRESENT.
- If I win the lottery, I will buy a new flat (Si me toca la lotería, me compraré un piso nuevo): PRESENT - FUTURE.
- If I won the lottery, I would buy a new flat. (Si me tocara la lotería, me compraría un piso nuevo): PAST - CONDITIONAL.
- If I had won the lottery, I would have bought a new flat. (Si me hubiera tocado la lotería, me habría comprado un piso nuevo): PAST PERFECT - PERFECT CONDICIONAL.