verbs in time clauses and if clauses

 

Verbs in time clauses and conditionals follow the same patterns as in other clauses except:

  • In clauses with time words like when, after, until we often use the present tense forms to talk about the future:

I’ll come home when I finish work.
You must wait here until your father comes.
They are coming after they have had dinner.

  •  in conditional clauses with if or unless we often use the present tense forms to talk about the future:

We won’t be able to go out if it is raining.
If Barcelona win tomorrow they will be champions.
I will come tomorrow unless I have to look after the children.

  • We do not normally use will in clauses with if or with time words:

I’ll come home when I will finish work.
We won’t be able to go out if it will rain. rains.
It will be nice to see Peter when he will get home gets home.
You must wait here until you father will come comes.

  • but we can use will if it means a promise or offer:

I will be very happy if you will come to my party.
We should finish the job early if George will help us.


"if" clauses and hypotheses

Some clauses with if are like hypotheses so we use past tense forms to talk about the present and future.

We use the past tense forms to talk about the present in clauses with if :

  • for something that has not happened or is not happening:
He could get a new job if he really tried   =  He cannot get a job because he has not tried.
If Jack was playing they would probably win  = Jack is not playing so they will probably not win.
If I had his address I could write to him  = I do not have his address so I cannot write to him.

 We use the past tense forms to talk about the future in clauses with if:

  • for something that we believe or know will not happen:

We would go by train if it wasn’t so expensive  = We won’t go by train because it is too expensive.
 I would look after the children for you at the weekend if I was at home  = I can’t look after the children because I will not be at home.
  •  to make suggestions about what might happen:

If he came tomorrow we could borrow his car.
If we invited John, Mary would bring Angela.

When we are talking about something which did not happen in the past we use the past perfect in the if clause and a modal verb in the main clause:

If you had seen him you could have spoken to him  = You did not see him so you could not speak to him
You could have stayed with us if you had come to London  = You couldn’t stay with us because you didn’t come to London.
If we hadn’t spent all our money we could take a holiday.  = We have spent all our money so we can’t take a holiday
If I had got the job we would be living in Paris  = I did not get the job so we are not living in Paris.

 If the main clause is about the past we use a modal with have

If you had seen him you could have spoken to him.  = You did not see him so you could not speak to him.
You could have stayed with us if you had come to London.  = You couldn’t stay with us because you didn’t come to London.
If you had invited me I might have come.  = You didn’t invite me so I didn’t come.

If the main clause is about the present we use a present tense form or a modal without have:

If I had got the job we would be living in Paris now.  = I did not get the job so we are not living in Paris now.
If you had done your homework you would know the answer.  = You did not do your homework so you do not know the answer.

 

Exercise

Exercise

Comments

I want from you to give me the answer of this exercice.
Question:rewrite the following sentences starting with the given words?
A) I'll never go out with you.
Never....................................
B) These illnesses include heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat strokes.
Heat cramps, .....................................................................................................
C) I didn't go out yesterday. It was raining.
If it ................................................................

Hello alifakhreddine,

I'm not sure where this exercise is from but I'm afraid we don't offer a service of doing homework or tests for our members! If we did, then we'd have no time for anything else! We're happy to answer questions on our own material, however, so please ask if you have any questions on that.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, it is an archive of an exam put by civil service
Board in lebanon to choose employees in the government
There is new jobs required there and i have to solve
Old exams to do better. By the way i understand your
Procedures. Thank you for your cooperation

Hi! I'm just wondering why it seems to be more common to say 'if you would rather do' than 'if you rather did' (eg. 'If you would rather do this later, you may do so.) Which is correct officially? Thanks in advance!

I must thank adam for this.
Or
I must thank to adam for.
Would the addition of TO change the sentence meaning or not?

Hello Pankaj,

The second sentence is not good English to me. We don't use this pattern ('to someone') after the verb 'thank'.

Best wishes,

Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

is it correct?

if i were you i would have slapped him.

or
if i were you i would slap him.

if both r correct could you plz tell me difference between them.

Hello tagrapankaj,

Both of these sentences are grammatically correct, though whether they are correct in context depends on the context and what you mean. The first sentence refers to a situation in the past, and the second refers to a situation in the present or future.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter, I want to find out about these English grammar structures: "as if", "as though", and "would rather". Hope you could provide me necessary info about them, thanks in advance!

Hi Anh Quân Chu,

Both as if and as though are typically used to express how we view a situation, including when we know the situation isn't true. For example, "It looks as if (or as though) the sun is going to come out" means that we think the sun will come out. If you say, "You look as if you'd seen a ghost!", it could mean that you really think the person saw a ghost, or it could be that you think it's not really true, but that you're just describing how frightened someone looks.

would rather is explained on the will or would page - see near the bottom, in the last section.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

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