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There are two parts to a conditional sentence: the condition (if) and the result. There are also two types of conditional sentences: real and unreal (contrary-to-fact).
If you come before the meeting, we’ll have time to talk.
Possible condition ( Present/future )
If + S + V (simple present), S + will/shall/can/may/might + V (infi.)
If my windows were larger, I would get more light.
Impossible condition ( Present/future )
If + S + V( Past simple ), S + would/should/could/might + V (infi.)
(Were for all persons)
If I had met you yesterday, I would have invited you to the cafe.
Impossible condition ( Past )
If + S + V( Past perfect ), S + would/should/could/might + have + V (P.P)
STRATEGIES FOR CONDITIONAL
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
Is it a real condition? If so, is the verb in
the if clause in the simple present or present
progressive form? Is the verb in the result in
the present, future, or imperative form?
INCORRECT [If Gianni will be there, we’ll
give him the message.
CORRECT If Gianni is there, we’ll give him
Is it an unreal condition in the present using the
verb be? If so, is was or were the form of be that is
INCORRECT [If she is the boss, she would hire him.]
CORRECT If she was/were the boss, she would hire him.
Is it an unreal condition in the present or future
tense? If so, is the verb in the condition in the
present subjunctive form? Does the verb in the
result contain would or could + the simple (base)
INCORRECT [If humans have two heads, they
couldn’t make decisions easily.]
CORRECT if humans had two heads, they couldn’t
make decisions easily.