Are you preparing for the IELTS test? Confused about how to use conditionals?
Conditionals can be used in writing task 2 of the IELTS examination or even in the speaking test. Conditional tenses are used to speculate about what could happen, what might have happened in the past, or what we wish would happen in the future. If you want to increase your IELTS score, you will have to master how to use conditionals. Let’s check out the general points on conditionals, various types, and some examples.
Conditional sentences have two parts or clauses – a dependent clause and an independent clause. There is a condition in the dependent clause and a result in the independent clause.
Condition (if) clause + result clause
Type of Conditionals
1. Zero Conditional
The zero conditional uses the present tense in both if-clause and result–clause. It is used when something is always or generally true.
Structure: If + simple present, simple present
Use Zero Conditional when:
– something is always true (If it rains, I take an umbrella with me to work)
– as commands (If you have money, spend it!)
2. First Conditional
The first conditional uses the present tense in the if-clause and the future tense in the result–clause. Use this conditional when something is a probable future result of a condition.
Structure: If + simple present, will + base verb
Use First Conditional when:
– you think the event is possible(If I have money, I’ll give you).
– to make threats, promises, and warnings (If you do that again, I’ll call the police)
3. Second Conditional
The second conditional uses the past tense in the if-clause and a modal (such as can, could, may, might, must, ought to, shall, should, will, would, and need) and base verb in the result–clause. Use the Second Conditional when something is impossible in the present but improbable in the future.
Structure: If + simple past, modal + base verb
Use Second Conditional when:
– you think the event is impossible in the present(If I had a million dollars, I would buy a large vacation home.)
– you think the event is improbable in the future (If the result of the test were positive, we would call you immediately.)
4. Third Conditional
The third conditional uses the past perfect in the if-clause and a modal and present perfect in the result–clause. This form is used to talk about a change in a past situation and the different results of that change.
Example: If I had studied harder for IELTS, I would have passed my exam.
Structure: If + past perfect, modal + present perfect
5. Mixed Conditionals
There is another conditional type called Mixed Conditional that combines the second and third conditionals to present both an unreal condition either in the past or the present and an unreal result either in the past or the present.
Structure 1: If + past perfect, modal + base
Example: If I had finished my medical degree, I would be a doctor now.
1. Conditionals can be categorized as real and unreal depending on whether the reader/speaker thinks the meaning is possible or impossible.
2. Zero and first conditionals are possible and real.
3. Second, third, and mixed conditionals are impossible as they deal with hypothetical or impossible situations.
If a situation is less likely to happen, you can use ‘I wish’ or ‘If only’, such as in this sentence – I wish the rain would stop for a moment.
Conditionals are slightly tricky but they help you earn extra points in grammar in your IELTS Test writing and speaking tests. However, it is important that you practice writing conditional sentences in order to master it. That said, the rules are pretty straightforward. So, once you learn the right formats and situations in which to use them, you’re all set!
Now that you’ve understood the grammar rules surrounding conditionals, it’s important to book your IELTS test. If you live in and around Brampton, Kingston, London, or Mississauga, check the ILETS test dates and book your IELTS test in one of these locations. At IELTS AOLCC, our IELTS Test Centres in Kingston, Brampton, London, and Mississauga offer both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests. Please check if the particular venue you are looking for offers IELTS on Paper or IELTS on a computer or both.