top of page

English Conditionals: A Comprehensive Guide

English conditionals 0, 1, 2, 3 and mixed conditional sentences

English conditionals are essential for effective communication. They allow us to express hypothetical situations, make predictions, and discuss possible outcomes. In this guide, we'll explore the various types of conditionals and provide examples to help you understand and use them correctly.

English Conditional 0

Conditional 0 is used to express general truths or facts, situations that are always true. It follows the structure: If + present simple, present simple.

Example: If you heat water to 100 degrees Celsius, it boils.

In this case, we're stating a fact that when water reaches 100 degrees Celsius, it always boils.

zero conditional in English: I always stay up late if I have a lot of work to do

Conditional 1

Conditional 1 is used for real and likely situations in the present or future. It follows the structure: If + present simple, will + base form.

Example: If it rains, I will stay at home.

Here, we're discussing a real possibility – if it rains, it's likely that I will choose to stay at home.

First conditional in English. I will kill you if this ever happens again.

Conditional 2

Conditional 2 is used for unreal or unlikely situations in the present or future. It follows the structure: If + past simple, would + base form.

Example: If I won the lottery, I would buy a new car.

In this example, winning the lottery is an unlikely event, and the action (buying a car) is theoretical or in the unreal future.

Second conditional in English. I would join you if I didn't have a doctor's appointment

Conditional 3

Conditional 3 is used for unreal or impossible situations in the past. It follows the structure: If + past perfect, would have + past participle.

Example: If I had studied harder, I would have passed the exam.

In this case, not studying harder was a mistake in the past that resulted in failing the exam.

Third conditional in English. You wouldn't have caught a cold if you had listened to my advice

Mixed Conditionals

Mixed conditionals combine elements of both Conditionals 2 and 3. They allow us to express connections between past and present actions and results.

Example: If I had known you were coming (Past Perfect), I would invite you in (Simple Present).

Here, we're talking about a past action (not knowing about the visit) and its result in the present (the invitation).

Mixed conditionals in English. I wouldn't feel so awful if I hadn't eaten so much cake yesterday.

Mastering English conditionals is crucial for effective communication. These structures allow us to express different types of hypothetical situations, probabilities, and regrets. Practice these conditionals to improve your English language skills and become a more proficient communicator.

For more English grammar and vocabulary tips, follow me on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

bottom of page