Sunday, 15 December 2013

First conditional/Zero conditional



First conditional


Look at the first conditional. Notice the different clauses.

if clause
main clause
( if + Present Simple)
(will/won't + infinitive)
If I start teaching again,
I'll be exhausted after a year

·    The first conditional talks about the result of a possible event or situation in the future.
·    The if clause talks about things that are possible, but not certain: If I start teaching again, I'll be exhausted after a year (maybe I will start teaching again).
   The main clause says that we think the result will be in this situation (I'm sure I will be exhausted after a year).
·    We make the first conditional with: if+ Present Simple, will/won't + infinitive
·    The if clause can be first or second in the sentence: I'll be exhausted after a year if I start teaching again.
·    We often use might in the main clause to mean ' will perhaps': But you might have to wait until next year if you don't apply soon.
·    We can use unless to mean 'if not' in the first conditional: Unless I do it now, I'll be too old. = If I don't do it now, I'll be too old.

Zero conditional; conditionals with modal verbs and imperatives, in case


Zero conditional


·    The zero conditional talks about things that are always true :
If you have children, you worry about them all the time.
·    In the zero conditional both verbs are in the Present Simple: If children stay indoors all the time, they become unfit.
*If and when have the same meaning in the zero conditional: If/When I'm worried, I don't sleep very well.

Zero or first conditional


Compare these sentences:

If the children aren't home by five, I call the school.
This sentence is a zero conditional. It talks about something that is always true.
If the children aren't home by five, I'll call the school.
This sentence is a first conditional. It talks about one specific time in the future.


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