Understanding conditional sentences

Conditional sentences are used to express the hypothetical scenarios. But, such scenarios are determined by certain conditions. In reality, imaginative situation cannot be recorrected or reversed. For better insight, proper understanding of conditional sentences become inevitable.

Rules of formation of conditional sentences

•In the basic level of conditional sentences, general truth is described with simple present in both clauses.

•In the present, “If” is used to begin a dependent clause, but in the second main clause will is generally used.

•In the past sense of conditional sentences, would is preferred in place of will.

•In the conditional sentences for missed opportunity, would have, could have, or should have, is preferred. Unlike other two types, in this type, in the dependent ‘If’ clause had is used as “auxiliary”.

•Comma is introduced to separate two parts of sentence only when the If clause is used to begin the sentence.

Types of conditional sentences

There are four types of conditional sentences. First is used to express general truth.

Second describes most possible result of the present condition. And, third is used to indicate hypothetical situation or outcome of result.

Finally, fourth is about for missed opportunity in which the outcome of result is totally opposite of what has actually happened.

•Basic form for possible result of condition  — If clause + main clause. (simple present )

•If you sow seed, it returns as fruit.

•First type — If clause + main clause. (simple present + future)

•If I learn english grammar, I will speak fluently.

•If I receive my first salary, I will give a party for you.

•If he arrives on time, I will escort him carefully.

•If he invites, I may think positively.

In these examples, second main clause is the possible outcome of the earlier condition.

•Second type — If clause + main clause. (simple past + would )

•If I learned english grammar, I would speak fluently.

•If he invited, I would think positively.

•If he arrived on time, I would escort him carefully.

In this type, we imagine about a situation which cannot occur. So, we call it hypothetical scenarios.

•Higher level — If clause + main clause. (past perfect + would have)

•If I had learned english grammar, I would have spoken fluently.

•If I had got up early, I would have reached at meeting.

•If he had been there, he could have helped them.

•If she learned english grammar, she could have spoken fluently.

This is a typical case of missed opportunity in which outcome is totally opposite of the condition.

In such sentences, should have, could have, and might have, are used in place of would have as per the situation.

I hope that this subject matter would help you to understand the various forms of conditional sentences….

Adverbial complements

Conjunction of time and condition

Simple past tense

Present perfect tense

Would have for missed opportunity

Understanding adjective clause

Learning adverb clause of time

Subordinating clause by when and while