Unit 4.1

# Zero Conditional

Syntax

conditional sentence is usually composed by two parts: the if-clause (or conditional clause) that expresses the condition, and the main clause that expresses the consequence of that condition.

We use the zero conditional structure when the result of the condition is always true.

In zero conditional we use the present simple for both parts of the sentence. We can use if or when and there is no change in meaning, as the consequence of the condition is always the same.

The order of the sentences doesn’t change the meaning, therefore there are two ways of forming this expression:

 IF-CLAUSE (condition) , MAIN CLAUSE (consequence) If/When + Present Simple , Present Simple

or

 MAIN CLAUSE (consequence) IF-CLAUSE (condition) Present Simple If/When + Present Simple
1. If
• If water reaches 100 degrees, it always boils.
• Water always boils if it reaches 100 degrees.
2. When
• When people don’t drink water for a long time, they die.
• People die when they don’t drink water for a long time.

We use zero conditional to talk about facts and things that always happen, such as scientific facts. The result of the condition is certain.

1. If is used when we want to say that the condition will happen immediately;
2. When is used when we want to say that the condition will definitely happen sooner or later.

A conditional sentence is usually composed of two parts: The “if-clause” (or conditional clause) that expresses the condition, and the “main clause” that expresses the consequence of that condition. Both parts are in present simple tense.

The zero conditional is used to talk about facts and things that always happen, such as scientific facts and when the result of a condition is always true.

If = The condition will happen immediately.
When = Will definitely happen sooner or later.

These are the possible structures:

• If/when + present simple + , + present simple;
• Present simple + if/when + present simple.

For example:
— “If you tell me what to buy, I go to the supermarket.” / “When you tell me what to buy, I go to the supermarket.” = The first part of the sentence is the condition that brings about the result expressed in the second sentence.
— “I go to the supermarket if you tell me what to buy.” / “I go to the supermarket when you tell me what to buy.” = The first part of the sentence is the result of the condition expressed in the second sentence.

If is used to express that immediately after you tell me, I go to the supermarket. When suggests that I carry out this action later.

Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.