Conditional sentences
1 main clause
2 conditional clause
Real conditionals
Type O
The same tense in both clauses. Usually present
Tense form is the same in both clauses, referring
to something which is always true. General truths
and laws of nature.
E.g. If it rains, people use umbrellas.
Type 1
• Referring to something that may happen in
• Present tenses (simple, continuous and
perfect) in the conditional clause and future
tense in the main clause.
Be careful! If you fall, you’ll hurt yourself.
If you’re working, I won’t disturb you.
If you haven’t finished yet, I’ll wait.
Words instead of ‘if’
• When
• In case
• Unless
• Instead of ‘will’ we can use must, may, might,
can, could, should, be going to in the main
If he’s late, I might not meet him.
If that happens, the police are going to feel
rather silly.
They should share the information with others
if it’s important.
But also: If he must go, I will go too.
Unless = if ... not
• Unless includes negative meaning, no ‘not’
after unless
• We will play tennis tomorrow if it doesn’t rain.
• We will play tennis tomorrow unless it rains
• If I’m not busy, I will call you.
• Un less I’m busy, I will call you.
Unreal conditional sentences
• Type 2
• Referring to imaginary or untrue present situations
or unlikely future situations.
• Past simple or past continuous in the conditional
clause and would + verb in the main clause.
If I knew the answer, I would tell you. (But I don’t
If you were driving any faster, we would be in
danger. (But you’re not driving any faster)
• We can use might or could instead of would.
If she paid more attention, she might understand
the lessons better.
Were instead of was
• E.g. If I were you, I would give it more
• Tim would not live there if he were/was
Words instead of ‘if’
In case
Type 3
• Imaginary past situation.
• Past perfect/continuous in the conditional
clause and would have + past participle in the
main clause
If she had told me the truth, I would have tried
to help her. (But she did not tell me the truth.)
If it had been raining I would have taken a bus.
I would have called you if I had had more time.
(But I didn’t have time and didn’t call)
• Instead of would have in the main clause we
can use might/could have
• E.g. If you had been late, I might have left.
Mixed conditionals
• Type 2 and type 3
• Type 2 in the conditional clause and type 3 in
the main clause: if things were different in
general, sth would have been different in the
past too.
If I spoke (type2) Russian better I would have
got(type 3) the job.
• Type 3 in the conditional clause and type 2 in
the main clause: if things had been different in
the past, they would be different now too.
• E.g. If I had listened (type3) to your advice, I
would not be (type2) in such a mess now.
Alternatives to if
as long as
on condition that
even if
in case + present tense= because .... might
I’ll leave the paper here, in case he wants to read it. (=he
might want to read it)
• in case + noun (if there is/are)
In case of fire, call the fire brigade.
Imperative clauses in conditional
• If you want to see him, give him a call.
• Don’t go to the party if you want to pass the
Inversion in conditional sentences
• Type 1
In the conditional clause if → should
If I hear from him, I will call you.
Should I hear from him, I will call you.
• Type 2
If smb/sth were → Were smb/sth
If they were here now, I would be in trouble.
Were they here now, I would be in trouble.
If smb had sth → Had smb sth
If he had more money, he would buy a new car.
Had he more money, he would buy a new car.
• Type 3
If smb had done sth → Had smb done sth.
If he had told me earlier, ...
Had he told me earlier, ...
I wish /If only structures
• Past regret
Past perfect/continuous: had(not)done/had (not)
been doing
I wish I had told him the truth. (But I didn’t)
I wish I had had more time.
I wish she had come with me.
She wishes Paul had never talked to her.
I wish I had not/hadn’t been there. (But I was)
• Present wish
Past simple/continuous:
did or didn’t do /was,were (not) doing
I wish I knew the answer. (But I don’t know)
I wish I were sleeping right now.(But I’m not)
I wish you were here. (But you’re not)
She wishes it wasn’t/weren’t raining. (But it is)
I wish they didn’t go yet. (But they do)
would (not) do
• polite imperative
I wish you would stop shouting (Stop
• A wish for a situation or smb’s behaviour to
I wish you would clean your room more often.
• BUT: after I and we would → could
I wish I could go there with you.
If only we could stop the fight.