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Unit 4.1

First 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.

First conditional is used to express future conditions and consequences or to express something that is possible to happen.

In first conditional we use the present simple for the if-part of the sentence (although we are talking about a future condition), and the future simple for the consequence part 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 expressions:

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

or

MAIN CLAUSE (consequence)IF-CLAUSE (condition)
Simple FutureIf/When + Present Simple
  1. If
    • If you are optimistic, you will be happier in your life.
    • I will love you back if you love me.
  2. When
    • When he comes, I will hug him.
    • I will change my password when I go home.

We use the first conditional to express something that is really possible in the future.

  1. If
    • We use if to express conditions and consequences in the future;
    • If is used when we want to say that the condition might happen.
  2. When
    • We use when to express things that are certain to happen and we don’t express condition;
    • When is used when we want to describe the moment in which something will definitely happen.

A conditional sentence is composed of two parts: the if-clause (condition), and the main clause (consequence of the condition).

The first conditional is used to express the result of conditions that are not certain but very likely to happen in the future. It is also used to express things that are bound to happen in the future.

If= The condition might happen immediately.
When = The condition will definitely happen in the future.

The structures are:
If/when + present simple + , + future simple
Future simple + if/when + present simple

For example:
— “If/when you tell me what to buy, I will go to the supermarket.” = The first part of the clause is the condition that makes the result, expressed in the second one, possible.
— “I will go to the supermarket if/when you tell me what to buy.” = The first part of the clause is the result of the condition expressed in the second one.

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

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