Learn what Conditionals of three types are, have practice doing execises and use them in your speech.

What are Conditionals?

Conditionals of three types are two parts sentences which are connected with the word ‘if’. With all conditionals, when we start the sentence with ‘if’, we must use a comma. When ‘if’ is in the middle of the sentence, we don’t use a comma.

If you come at ten, we’ll be ready. We will catch the train if we take a taxi. If you promise not to be late, I will let you go for a walk. If we went to the river, we would have a good time there. He would buy a book if he had enough money. If you hade gone to the stadium, you would have seen an interesting match. I wouldn’t have finished my work if you hadn’t helped me.

Conditional (Type I) or the First Conditional

We use the first conditional to express the strong possibility that something will happen in the future. We can also use it to make predictions about things we are sure about.

If you phone me, I’ll pick you up at the park. I’ll pick you up later if you phone me. If it rains, we’ll go to the cinema. If the sun shines, we’ll go to the beach.

Conditional (Type 1) = if +Present Simple (V1)  +  Future Simple (or Modal + Infinitive)

Note: going to is sometimes used in the first conditional to describe a future plan: If it rains, we’re going to visit my mother.

Alternative to ‘IF’

WHEN is used when the ‘condition’ will definitely happen.

When she dies, she’ll leave all her money to charity.

UNLESS is followed by affirmative verb to express “if … not”.

My leg’s broken. I can’t stand up unless you help me. (I can’t stand up if you don’t help me.)

An IN  CASE-clause gives a reason while an IF-clause describes a condition.

I’ll buy a sandwich in case I get hungry. ( = I’ll buy a sandwich when I get hungry.) I’ll buy a sandwich if I get hungry. ( = I’ll buy a sandwich when I get hungry.)

AS  SOON  AS is used tio emphasize immediacy.

The situation is very urgent. I’ll call you as soon as I have more information.

Conditional (Type 2) or the Second Conditional

We use the second conditional sentences:

  • to talk about things that are not true now and are not very likely to happen in the future: He would buy a book if he had enough money. If they went to the concert, they would enjoy it very much.
  • to talk about imaginary situations, things that are completely impossible: I’d buy a house in London if I had enough money.
  • to give advice, with the phrase “if I were you” in the if-clause: If I were you, I wouldn’t go to the party.
  • the verb to be in the past time is usually expressed as were: If he were a hard-working student, he would have better academic results.

Conditional (Type 2) = if + Past Simple (V2)  +  would / could + Infinitive (V1)

Wish Sentences

We use “wish” + Past Simple to show that would like something to be different, that we are not happy with the present situation: I wish she were at home today. I wish he were not so busy tonight.

We use “wish + Past Perfect to talk about wishes for the past: I wish I had told you about it. We all wished that we had stopped there.

Conditional (Type 3) or the Third Conditional

We use the third conditional to talk about something in the past that did not happen (unreal condition in the past).

You would have got a better mark if you hadn’t made so many mistakes. If you hade gone to the stadium, you would have seen an interesting match.

Conditional (Type 3) = if + Past Perfect  +  would + have + Past Participle (V3)

To Conclude

  • Conditionals of three types are used talk about imaginary situations in the past, present and future.
  • Conditionals of three types are used for situations that might happen in the future, or situations that might never happen.
  • Conditionals of three types are used for actions in the past that cannot be changed.

Have Practice

Exercise 1. Use Conditionals of three types.

Example: If I (to see) her, I (to be) glad. – If I see her, I will be glad.  If I saw her, I would be glad. If I had seen her, I would have been glad.

  1. If my friend (to come) to see me, I (to be) happy.
  2. If my mother (to buy) a cake, we (to have) a very nice tea party.
  3. If we (to receive) a telegram from him, we (not to worry).
  4. If you (not to work) systematically, you (to fail) at the examination.
  5. If you (to be) busy, I (to leave) you alone.
  6. If I (to live) in Kyiv, I (to visit) Independence Square every week.
  7. If she (to know) English, she (to try) to enter the university.

Exercise 2. Use Conditional 2 and Conditional 3.

  1. They will all be surprised if I make such a mistake.
  2. If he doesn’t come in time, shall we have to wait for him?
  3. If I am not too busy, I shall go to the concert.
  4. If you put on your glasses, you will see better.
  5. What shall we do if you are late?
  6. Will he be very angry if we don’t come?

Exercise 3. Use Conditionals of Three Types.

  1. If he were not such an outstanding actor, he ________________ (not to have) so many admirers.
  2. If you ________________ (to give) me your address, I will write you a letter.
  3. If she ________________ (not to be) so absent-minded, she would be a much better student.
  4. If my sister does not go to the south, we ________________ (to spend) the summer in the country.
  5. If they ________________ (not to go) to Lviv last year, they would not have heard that famous musician.
  6. If you ________________ (not to get) tickets for the Philharmonic, we will stay at home.
  7. If you were not so careless about your health, you ________________ (to consult) the doctor.
  8. I would be delighted if I ________________(to have) such a beautiful fur coat.
  9. If it ________________  (to rain) we will stay at home.
  10. If it is not cold, I ________________ (not to put) on my coat.
  11. I ________________ (to write) the composition long ago if you had not disturbed me.
  12. If he ________________  (not to read) so much, he would not be so clever.
  13. If my friend ________________ (to be) at home, he will tell us what to do.
  14. My brother would not have missed so many lessons if he ________________ (not to hurt) his leg.
  15. If my friend ________________ (to work) in my office, we would meet every day.
  16. If you spoke English every day, you ________________ (to improve) your language skills.
  17. If he did not read, he ________________ (not to know) English literature so well.
  18. If he ________________ (to come) to our house yesterday, he would have met his friend.
  19. If he ________________ (not to pass) his examination, he will not get a scholarship.