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Conditional Sentences (#1), by Dennis Oliver

 

 

Conditional ("if") sentences normally have two parts.
One part shows a
result and the other shows a condition
on which the result depends. The
condition is normally
preceded by
if. In "He gets angry if he doesn't get what
he wants," the result is "he gets angry" and the condition
(introduced by "if") is "he doesn't get what he wants.

There are two main types of conditional sentences: real
and
unreal. Real conditional sentences refer to situations
that are either true or possible. Unreal conditionals refer
to situations that are untrue, impossible or hypothetical;
conditional sentences of this type are often described as
being
contrary to fact.

Let's look, first, at real conditionals.

 

Real Conditionals (#1)

 

 

There are two types of real conditional sentences. In the
first type, the result is
known: it happens every time the
condition is met. In conditional sentences of this type,
when, whenever, or every time may be substituted for
if with no changein meaning:

If she studies, she gets good grades.

(When / Whenever / Every time she studies,
she gets good grades.)

 

If he's relaxed, he feels more confident.

(When / Whenever / Every time he's relaxed,
he feels more confident.)

 

If they have extra money, they put it
in their savings account.

(When / Whenever / Every time they
have extra money, they put it in their
savings account.)

 

Special Notes:

1.  

If may be at either the beginning or middle
of conditional sentences:

If she studies, she gets good grades. /
She gets good grades if she studies.

If he's relaxed, he feels more confident. /
He feels more confident if he's relaxed.

If they have extra money, they put it in their
savings account.

They put extra money in their savings account
if they have any.

Notice that a comma is used with the if clause
when it begins a sentence.
Notice also that
there is no comma when the
if clause is in the
middle of a sentence.

     
2.   For predictable situations, the simple present
tense is normally used (see the examples above).

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