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Understanding Conditional Sentences (#2), by Dennis Oliver

Conditional Sentences (#2)

 

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'll be angry if he doesn't get what
he wants," the result is "he'll be 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 at more about real conditionals.

Real Conditionals (#2)

 


There are two types of real conditional sentences.

We saw that in the first, 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.

The second type of real conditional sentence is used for
situations that are
possible. In this type of real conditional
sentence, the
if clause is usually simple present tense
and the
result clause is usually shown by will + the base
form (simple form) of a verb. In conditional sentences
of this type, the result is possible, but it may happen and.
it may not happen. Whether it happens depends on whether
the condition shown by the
if clause is met.

Examples:

If she studies, she'll get good grades.

(Getting good grades is possible for her,
but to get them, she needs to study.)

______________________________


If he's relaxed, he'll feel more confident.

(It's possible that he'll feel more confident,
but to feel more confident, he needs to relax.)

______________________________


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

(It's possible that they'll put money in their
savings account, but doing this depends on having
something extra.)

______________________________


If I see him, I
'll give him your message.

(It's possible that I'll give him your message,
but I can't do that if I don't see him.)


______________________________________________________

 

Special Notes:

1.    In this type of conditional sentence, if does not
mean
when / whenever / every time.
     
2.  

It's possible, in this type of conditional, to use will
in both parts of the sentence. If
will is used in the
if clause, it as a special meaning: willingness or
volition. It does not refer to future time.

Examples:

If she'll study, she'll get good grades.

(If she'll study = If she's willing to study.)

______________________________


If he
'll relax, he'll feel more confident.

(If he'll relax = If he's willing to relax.)

______________________________


If you
'll help me, I'll be grateful.

(If you'll help me = If you're willing
to help me.)

     
3.  

Will can be used in if clauses only when it
shows willingness:

not logical:

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

not logical:

*If I'll see him, I'll give him your message.

     
4.  

It's also possible to use may or might in this type
of conditional sentence.

Examples:

If she studies, she may / might get good grades.

(Getting good grades is somewhat possible for her,
but to get good grades, she needs to study.)

______________________________


If he's relaxed, he may / might feel more confident.

(It's somewhat possible that he'll feel more
confident, but to feel more confident, he needs
to relax.)

______________________________


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

(It's somewhat possible that they'll put money
in their savings account, but doing this depends
on having something extra.)

______________________________


If I see him, I may / might invite him to our party.

(It's somewhat possible that I'll invite him to our
party, but I can't do that if I don't see him.)


_______________________________

Next: more on conditional sentences
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