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Self-study Lessons > English > Beginner/Intermediate >

Present Conditionals

by Marco Mayer


Present Conditionals can be divided into 2 categories: Present Real Conditionals and Present Unreal Conditionals. The Present Real Conditional is used to talk about what you normally do in real-life situations. It has the FORM: If / When ... Simple Present ..., ... Simple Present ... Examples: If I get sick, I usually take a day off work. When it is sunny, I go to the park. If you heat water to 100 celsius, it boils. Both "if" and "when" are used in the Present Real Conditional. Using "if" suggests that something happens less frequently. Using "when" suggests that something happens regularly. Examples: When it is sunny, I usually go to the park. It is sunny often. If it is sunny, I usually go to the park. It is rarely sunny.

The Present Unreal Conditional is used to talk about what you would generally do in imaginary situations. It has the FORM: If ... Simple Past ..., ... would + verb ... Examples: If I won the lottery, I would not work. But, I didn't win the lottery. If I had time, I would learn Italian. But, I don't have time. Q: What would you do if you had more time? A: I would study French.
IMPORTANT NOTES: If I were ... In the Present Unreal Conditional, the form "was" is not considered grammatically correct. In written English or in testing situations, you should always use "were." However, in everyday conversation, "was" is often used. Examples: If it were sunny, I would go to the park. But it is not sunny. Only use "If" Only the word "if" is used with the Present Unreal Conditional because you are discussing imaginary situations. "When" cannot be used. Examples: If it were sunny, I would go to the park. CORRECT When it were sunny, I would go to the park. WRONG







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