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Understanding Conditional Sentences (#1), by Dennis Oliver

 

Conditional Sentences (#1)

 

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 are
often described as being
contrary to fact and refer to
situations that are untrue, impossible, or hypothetical.

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 change in meaning.

Examples:

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).


_______________________________

Next: more on conditional sentences
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