What Are English Conditionals?

What Are English Conditionals?

What are English conditionals?

What are English conditionals?

Conditionals are structures in English that establish what will happen if a certain event takes place or if a certain action is performed.

There are 4 conditionals:

  1. The ZERO conditional
  2. The FIRST conditional
  3. The SECOND conditional
  4. The THIRD conditional

The ZERO conditional:

This conditional discusses an absolute certainty; something that is a fact. The RESULT is always true (the result is not an assumption or possibility). The zero conditional is often used for scientific facts.


  1. If you cool water to zero degrees, it turns to ice.
  2. People die if they don’t eat.
  3. If it doesn’t rain for a long time, the earth gets very dry.

From the examples, you can see that the zero conditional refers to facts.

The FIRST conditional:

This is used to talk about real and possible situations. It is used to talk about possibilities in the present or future.


  1. If it’s sunny, we will go to the park.
  2. If the blue swimming team win, I’ll buy you dinner.
  3. If I go abroad, I will call you everyday.

The SECOND conditional: 

This conditional is used to talk about unreal possibilities or impossible events. These are imaginary events in the present or future. They establish the course of action that would follow if something hypothetical (imagined) were to happen. It can also be used to give advice.


  1. If I won a million dollars, I would buy a new car.
  2. If I were you, I would quit my job.
  3. If I had the money, I would lend it to you. 

The THIRD conditional: 

This conditional talks about the past (unlike the first and second conditional which discusses events in the future). This conditional can also be used to talk about a lost opportunity (an opportunity that you had in the past) or a past hypothetical situation.


  1. If the weather had been better, we would have been able to go sailing.
  2. If I had studied harder, life would have been easier.

That’s a quick summary on the 4 conditionals in English. I hope this makes it easier for you to understand. 

Happy learning!
Level Up English

Watch my video for more on English conditionals:


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