Conditional sentence is also known as conditional clauses or if clauses. Conditional sentence are used to speculate about what could happen, what might have happened, and what we wish would happen. A conditional sentence tells the “conditions” in which something happens. It shows a possible cause and effect situation in the form of an “if…then” statement—in fact, every conditional sentence has a clause beginning with “if.” Conditional sentences let us express things that might or could have happened, could still happen, we wish could happen, or always happen in specific circumstances. There are three types of conditional sentences :
1. Conditional sentense type 1
The first conditional shares the result of situation in the future that we think is pretty likely to happen. The main clause will use a modal, like would, should, could, will, may, might, or can.
Form: if clause + simple present, future tense (will)
If you help me, I will help you.
If I win the lottery, I will buy a new car.
If it snows tomorrow, we will go skiing.
2. Conditional sentence type 2
The second conditional shows possible outcomes that could occur in the present or future, if specific conditions exist. To put it simply, second conditionals reflect ideas of “if you did this, this can happen.” BUT, the “did” hasn’t actually happened yet, it’s just possible.
Form: if clause + simple past, conditional I( would + infinitive)
If you knew her, you would agree with me.
If I won the lottery, I would buy a new car.
If it snowed tomorrow, we would go skiing.
3. Conditional sentence type 3
The third conditional lets us contemplate what could have happened if things went differently in the past. It lets us reflect upon things in the way of “if this had happened, this could have happened.”
Form: if + past perfect, Conditional II ( would + have + past participle)
if clause > past perfect tense : main clause > would have
If you had helped me, I would have helped you.
If I had won the lottery, I would have bought a new car.
If it had snowed yesterday, we would have gone skiing.
To make it easier for you, you can see this video below!
English Conditional Sentences
Description: This video is devoted to the three main types of conditional sentences - first, second and third. We are going to study the structure and analyze many examples, so in order to understand this topic - make sure to watch to the very end!