# Conditionals: zero, first and second

Do you know how to use the zero, first and second conditionals? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how zero, first and second conditionals are used.

If you freeze water, it becomes solid.
If it rains tomorrow, I'll take the car.
If I lived closer to the cinema, I would go more often.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Conditionals 1: Grammar test 1

## Grammar explanation

Conditionals describe the result of a certain condition. The if clause tells you the condition (If you study hard) and the main clause tells you the result (you will pass your exams). The order of the clauses does not change the meaning.

If you study hard, you will pass your exams.
You will pass your exams if you study hard.

Conditional sentences are often divided into different types.

### Zero conditional

We use the zero conditional to talk about things that are generally true, especially for laws and rules.

If I drink too much coffee, I can't sleep at night.
Ice melts if you heat it.
When the sun goes down, it gets dark.

The structure is: if/when + present simple >> present simple.

### First conditional

We use the first conditional when we talk about future situations we believe are real or possible.

If it doesn't rain tomorrow, we'll go to the beach.
Arsenal will be top of the league if they win.
When I finish work, I'll call you.

In first conditional sentences, the structure is usually: if/when + present simple >> will + infinitive.

It is also common to use this structure with unless, as long as, as soon as or in case instead of if.

I'll leave as soon as the babysitter arrives.
I don't want to stay in London unless I get a well-paid job.
I'll give you a key in case I'm not at home.
You can go to the party, as long as you're back by midnight.

### Second conditional

The second conditional is used to imagine present or future situations that are impossible or unlikely in reality.

If we had a garden, we could have a cat.
If I won a lot of money, I'd buy a big house in the country.
I wouldn't worry if I were you.

The structure is usually: if + past simple >> + would + infinitive.

When if is followed by the verb be, it is grammatically correct to say if I were, if he were, if she were and if it were. However, it is also common to hear these structures with was, especially in the he/she form.

If I were you, I wouldn't mention it.
If she was prime minister, she would invest more money in schools.
He would travel more if he was younger.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Conditionals 1: Grammar test 2

### Language level

Submitted by Peter M. on Thu, 14/01/2021 - 08:19

Hello IanCorx,

No, we don't replace if with whether in conditionals.

You can use whether or not in place of if to indicate that your action will not change irrespective of the condition:

If the film is good, I'll stay to the end.

Whether or not the film is good, I'll stay to the end.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Yigido on Fri, 18/12/2020 - 18:46

Hi team, This sentence;''If I am lazy,I will not pass the exam, so I will work more.'' Is grammatically true?My teacher sad - - You can not use IF and SO togather in a sentence for the same condition.-Is it a rule? ;Can not I use any conjunction(because,and,but...)in the conditional sentences?or How I use?

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Sat, 19/12/2020 - 14:39

Hello Yigido,

In speaking, where we don't use punctuation, this sentence is fine. But in writing, it's a run-on sentence, which is not correct in most situations. I'd recommend ending the first sentence after 'exam' and then starting a new one with 'So'.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Teacher, can you correct me?In writing,ın conditionals we can't use any conjunction(but,because, so, and, but...) Instead of we can end - conditional sentence-and start new sentence.

Hello again Yigido,

What you wrote can work as a general recommendation, but I wouldn't call it a rule. In other words, there is no rule against using conjunctions in conditional sentences, but in the particular sentence you asked about, I'd recommend breaking it into two sentences.

This is not because the sentence is a conditional so much as it has to do with avoiding run-on sentences.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Vitalii Bordun on Fri, 04/12/2020 - 13:42

Hello. Why in the rule in the Second conditional is - he/she/it were, but in the examples is - he/she was?

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Fri, 04/12/2020 - 13:55

In reply to by Vitalii Bordun

Hello Vitalii Bordun,

Both 'was' and 'were' are correct in the second conditional and other situations that are considered hypothetical or unreal.

In other words, you can use a past simple form ('was' or 'were' depending on the person) or you can use 'were' for any person ('I', 'they', 'she', etc.).

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Bineetha on Fri, 30/10/2020 - 11:42