Grammar- Conditional Structures


If you catch a cold, you will sneeze!

In this section we will review two structures you already know, zero and Type I conditionals, and we will introduce and practise Type II and III conditional structures.

After reading the theory, you can access the practise activities and do the exercises as many times as you need to confirm your command.

"Conditional" structures express a situation in which If a particular condition is true, then a particular result happens.

Let us first review zero and type I conditionals...

1) Zero Conditionals: Certainty

Zero conditionals express the result of a condition that is always true.

IF condition result
  present simple present simple
If / When you touch fire
you get burnt.

We can also use when instead of if, for example: When I eat too much, I feel sick.

2) First Conditionals: Possibility

The first conditional expresses the result of a possible situation in the future:


IF condition result
  present simple will/won't + infinitive
If I win the lottery I will buy a new flat.

3) Second Conditionals: Unreal Possibility

The second conditional is used to talk about imaginary situations. It is like the first conditional in the sense that we are talking about the future and the future result of a condition, but this time there is no real possibility that the condition will happen.

IF condition result
  past simple conditional
If I won the lottery I would buy a new flat.

Note that, with the verb to be, we can say "If I was/were" and "If he/she was/were".

4) Third Conditionals: No Possibility

The third conditional is used to talk about imaginary situations in the past. They usually express the opposite of what really happened.

IF condition result
  past perfect perfect conditional
If I had won the lottery I would have bought a new flat.

Below in this unit you will find a summary chart of the structures as well as an outline of the equivalence with Spanish conditional structures.