Conditionals: Definition and Types


Sentences that contain the word IF (conjunction) are known as conditionals. Usually conditional sentences are called conditionals and sometimes are referred as if clauses.


Types of Conditionals

  • The Real Conditionals
  • The Unreal Conditionals


The Real Conditionals

Such conditional sentences that express factual data or habitual conditions that contain the possibility to happen in the future or generally happen in the present.


Structures of the Real Conditionals:

For Future Conditions
If +subject +present tense +subject + will/can/may/must + verb

Subject+ will/can/may+ verb+ if + subject + simple present tense


If I study well, I will surely pass.

University will expel you if you misbehave.


For Habitual Conditions
If + subject + simple present + subject +simple present Subject + simple present  + if + subject +simple present

If they pay me well, I will always stay in the company.

He tries more, if he gets encouraged.


The Unreal Conditionals

The conditional sentences that express an unreal hypothetical conditions and have no chances to happen in the past, present or future are called the unreal conditionals. They only express what might have happened in different circumstances.


  • If I was earning, I would by myself a watch.
  • If I had woke up early, we didn’t have to buy another ticket.


Structures of Unreal Conditionals:

For Present/Future Conditions
If + subject + simple past tense + subject + would/could/might + verb in base form. . .

subject + would/could/might + verb in base form + if + subject + simple past tense


If I had enough money, I will buy this new car.




For Past Conditions
If If + subject + past perfect tense + subject + would/could/might + have+ verb in past participle form

Subject + would/could/might + have + verb in past participle form + if + subject + simple past tense


If I had listened to the teacher, this would seem easy.

This house would be mine, if had signed the contract on time.



Had + subject + past participle for of verb + subject +would/could/might + have + verb in past participle

Had I noticed the time on my ticket, we would have been in London by now.


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