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English grammar conditionals

English grammar conditionals

What are the 4 types of conditionals?

The term conditional refers to any sentence which contains an if clause and a main / result clause. There are four conditionals in English. Below are the four English grammar conditional (types of conditionals), conditionals examples, form, and conditionals meaning (uses).

Zero conditional

Zero conditional examples: 

    • If you mix blue and yellow, you get green.
    • If you heat ice, it melts.

Form:  If + Subject + present simple, subject + present simple.

Meaning: Zero conditional is used to express to talk about something which is always true.

First conditional 

First conditional examples: 

    • If you work hard, you will pass your exams.
    • will stay at home if it rains tomorrow.

Form: If + Subject + present simple, subject + will + infinitive without ‘to’.

Meaning: The speaker feels that the situation in the if-clause is possible.


  1. Conditional sentences contain two clauses: an if-clause and a main clause.
  2. In conditional sentences, you can reverse the two parts (= the if-clause and the main clause). In this case you don’t usually write a comma (,).

Second conditional

Second conditional examples: 

    • If I were you, I would eat less chocolate.
    • I would help the poor if I had a lot of money.

NB in conditional type 2 you can use ‘was’ or ‘were’ after (I, he, she, or it).

Form: If + subject + past simple, subject + would/could/might + infinitive without ‘to’.

Meaning: In the second conditional,  the speaker thinks that the situation in the if-clause is unrealistic or impossible.
Second conditional sentences use past verbs (
were, had, etc.) but they aren’t about the past. They are about the present or the future.

Third conditional

Examples of third conditional: 

    • If I had gone to the meeting, I would/could have met Sandra.
    • You wouldn’t have missed your plane if you had got up early.

Form: If + subject + past perfect, subject + would/could/might + have + past participle.

Meaning: Conditional type 3 is used to talk about events in the past that cannot be changed. Conditional type 3 is especially used to express regret, relief or criticism.

Now, what is the fourth conditional? What is it called? The fourth conditional is called mixed conditional. 

Mixed conditional

Mixed conditional examples:

    • If I had taken my boss’s advice, I wouldn’t be in this mess now.

Form: Third conditional structure, second conditional structure.

Meaning: A past condition with a present result.

Conditionals exercises