VerbAbout VerbsAction VerbsCausative VerbsContractionsDo and MakeFinite and Nonfinite VerbsGerundInfinitive FormInversionLinking VerbsModal VerbsMay and MightMoodsPhrasal VerbsSay and TellShallStative VerbsThird Person SingularUsed toRegular VerbsIrregular VerbsVerb FormsCompound Verbs
ConditionalConditionalZero ConditionalFirst ConditionalSecond ConditionalThird ConditionalMixed ConditionalInversion in Conditional Sentences
Passive VoicePassive VoicePresent Simple PassivePresent Continuous PassivePast Simple PassivePast Continuous PassivePerfect Tenses PassiveFuture Simple PassiveGoing to PassiveSay / Believe / SupposeGet + Participle
Adverbs of FrequencyAdverbs of FrequencyAdverbs of Frequency - Position in Sentence
QuestionsQuestion TagsRhetorical QuestionsEcho Questions
Reported SpeechReported SpeechModals in Reported SpeechReported Commands and RequestsReported QuestionsPresent Perfect in Reported SpeechFuture Perfect in Reported Speech
Irregular VerbsIrregular Verbs - GroupsIrregular Verbs - Forms
ParticiplesPresent ParticiplePast ParticiplePerfect Participle
Other TopicsWill vs. Going toIf / Even if / Whether / Unless If + Were or If + WasAs If / As Though + Past SubjunctiveHabits Expressed by Will and WouldHad BetterSubject
Read MoreAuxiliary VerbsAuxiliary Verbs: To BeAuxiliary Verbs: To HaveAuxiliary Verbs: To DoWhen To Use the Verb To Be
Grammar

First Conditional

We use the first conditional to talk about a future situation that is possible.

IF-CLAUSE  MAIN CLAUSE
If the weather is nice tomorrow, we will go to the seaside.

The verb in the if-clause is in the present tense.
The verb in the main clause is in the Future Simple. (It doesn't matter which comes first.)
There is usually a comma between the two clauses:

  • If you try very hard, you'll see the difference.
  • John will be late, if you don't lend him your car.

This type of sentence implies that the action is very probable.

Note that the meaning here is present or future, but the main verb in the if-clause is in a present, not future tense.

Possible Variations of the Basic Form

Sometimes instead of if + present + future, we may have:

a) if + present + may/might (possibility):

  • If the climate keeps warming, the Arctic might be warm enough for swimming.

b) if + present + may (permission) or can (permission or ability):

  • If your documents are in order, you may/can leave at once. (permission)
  • If it stops raining, we can go out. (permission or ability)

c) if + present + must, should or any expression of command, request or advice:

  • if you want to look slim, you must/should eat less meat.
  • if you want to look slim, you had better eat less meat.
  • if you want to look slim, eat less meat.

 d) When if is used to mean as/since, a variety of tenses can be used in the main clause.

Variations of the If-Clause

Instead of if + present tense, we can have:

a) if + present continuous, to indicate a present actions or a future arrangement:

  • If you are waiting for a bus (present action), you'd better join the queue.
  • If you are looking for Peter, you'll find him upstairs.
  • If you're staying for another night (future arrangement), I'll ask the manager to give you a better room.

b) if + present perfect:

  • If you have finished dinner, I'll ask the waiter for the bill.
  • If she has written the letter, I'll post it.
  • If they haven't seen the museum, we'd better go there today.

Talking about fulfiled conditions instead of if we can use when:

  • When the delivery arrives, I will call you.
  • She will call you when she gets home.

Check your understanding!

VerbAbout VerbsAction VerbsCausative VerbsContractionsDo and MakeFinite and Nonfinite VerbsGerundInfinitive FormInversionLinking VerbsModal VerbsMay and MightMoodsPhrasal VerbsSay and TellShallStative VerbsThird Person SingularUsed toRegular VerbsIrregular VerbsVerb FormsCompound Verbs
ConditionalConditionalZero ConditionalFirst ConditionalSecond ConditionalThird ConditionalMixed ConditionalInversion in Conditional Sentences
Passive VoicePassive VoicePresent Simple PassivePresent Continuous PassivePast Simple PassivePast Continuous PassivePerfect Tenses PassiveFuture Simple PassiveGoing to PassiveSay / Believe / SupposeGet + Participle
Adverbs of FrequencyAdverbs of FrequencyAdverbs of Frequency - Position in Sentence
QuestionsQuestion TagsRhetorical QuestionsEcho Questions
Reported SpeechReported SpeechModals in Reported SpeechReported Commands and RequestsReported QuestionsPresent Perfect in Reported SpeechFuture Perfect in Reported Speech
Irregular VerbsIrregular Verbs - GroupsIrregular Verbs - Forms
ParticiplesPresent ParticiplePast ParticiplePerfect Participle
Other TopicsWill vs. Going toIf / Even if / Whether / Unless If + Were or If + WasAs If / As Though + Past SubjunctiveHabits Expressed by Will and WouldHad BetterSubject
Read MoreAuxiliary VerbsAuxiliary Verbs: To BeAuxiliary Verbs: To HaveAuxiliary Verbs: To DoWhen To Use the Verb To Be