0, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Conditional or “if clauses”

There are so many type of if clauses in English it is important to know when it is the right context to use each type!

Today we will learn what type of probability each “if clause” type implies so that you can correctly use them in the future!


Type zero

  • In type zero you use : present simple + present simple
  • You use this type when something is a general or scientific fact.


  • If it is hot, ice cream melts.
  • If you wash your clothes, they stink less.


First Conditional

  • Present simple + will/won’t + verb
  • The first conditional is used for things that are likely even probable to occur in the future.


  • If you shake the soda can, it will explode.
  • If you work hard, you will see results.


Second Conditional

  • Past simple + would OR wouldn’t + verb
  • You only use this if clause when something is unlikely to occur in the future!
  • **** note that with the verb to be we use were


  • If I were rich, I would buy a big house.
  • If she had a car, she would drive to work.
  • If I had a green thumb, I would grow more plants in my house.


Third Conditional

  • Past perfect + would have + past participle
  • You use this clause for situations that are in the past and imagined. The have no way to be true because they are situated in the past.


  • If I had been good at math, I would have studied economics in college.
  • If I hadn’t hurt my back, we could’ve taken a walk together last evening.


“if clause” exercise

Now let’s put it to the test with some questions, fill in the blanks:

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *