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Conditional sentences generally describe a possible situation (If Jim forgets my birthday…) and the consequence/result of that situation if it indeed happens (…I will be very angry).
They can also be used to describe hypothetical situations (when we are only imagining something) in the present, past and future.
Conditional constructions in English
Zero (if + present + present)
The zero conditional describes general facts, and scientific facts as well.
1st (if + present + will)
The first conditional describes a real possibility.
2nd (if + past + would)
The second conditional is used when we are just imagining something. As such, it’s often used to describe hypothetical (or unreal) situations. We can use it for the present or for the future.
3rd (if + past perfect + would have done)
We use the third conditional to communicate we are imagining something in the past that didn’t happen. It is important to understand that the 2nd conditional is used to speak about the present or the future, while the 3rd is only used to speak about the past.
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- Conditional Sentences
- The present Continuous
- Remember vs Remind
- Much, Many, Few, Little
- Tail Questions — Part II
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