Conditional sentences in English

Conditional sentences (if-clauses, main clauses)
Summary
Type I
Type II
Type III
Special types and structures
Mixed Conditionals
if I were you
will and would in if-clauses
Replacing if - Omitting if - if vs. when - in case vs. if
Conditional sentences (if) - Complex Test 1
Exercises - Conditional sentences (if)

Conditional sentences

The conditional sentences are sometimes confusing for learners of English.

Watch out:

1) Which type of the conditional sentences is used?

2) Where is the if-clause (e.g. at the beginning or at the end of the conditional sentence)?

There are three types of the if-clauses.

type condition
I condition possible to fulfill
II condition in theory possible to fulfill
III condition not possible to fulfill (too late)

Form

type if clause main clause
I will-future (or Modal + infinitive)
II Simple Past  would + infinitive *
III Past Perfect would + have + past participle *

Examples (if-clause at the beginning)

type if clause main clause
I If I study, I will pass the exam.
II If I studied, I would pass the exam.
III If I had studied, I would have passed the exam.

Examples (if-clause at the end)

type main clause if-clause
I I will pass the exam if I study.
II I would pass the exam if I studied.
III I would have passed the exam if I had studied.

Examples (affirmative and negative sentences)

type   Examples
    long forms short/contracted forms
I + If I study, I will pass the exam. If I study, I'll pass the exam.
- If I study, I will not fail the exam.
If I do not study, I will fail the exam.
If I study, I won't fail the exam.
If I don't study, I'll fail the exam.
II + If I studied, I would pass the exam. If I studied, I'd pass the exam.
- If I studied, I would not fail the exam.
If I did not study, I would fail the exam.
If I studied, I wouldn't fail the exam.
If I didn't study, I'd fail the exam.
III + If I had studied, I would have passed the exam. If I'd studied, I'd have passed the exam.
- If I had studied, I would not have failed the exam.
If I had not studied, I would have failed the exam.
If I'd studied, I wouldn't have failed the exam.
If I hadn't studied, I'd have failed the exam.

* We can substitute could or might for would (should, may or must are sometimes possible, too).

I would pass the exam.
I could pass the exam.
I might pass the exam.
I may pass the exam.
I should pass the exam.
I must pass the exam.

Thanks to Kai.

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