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Learn English Grammar

1st Conditional / Conditional 1

Overview | 2nd Conditional | 3rd Conditional | 0 Conditional

The first conditional is used to express situations based on fact in the present or future (things which may happen).

Uses the simple present tense + will or a modal verb:-

Formation

(IF Clause)
(Main Clause)
If I see you tomorrow, I will buy you a drink.
If you buy me a drink, I might buy you one.

or...

(Main Clause)
(IF Clause)
I will buy you a drink if I see you tomorrow.
I might buy you one if you buy me one.

We often use unless which means 'if ... not'.

Formation

(IF Clause)
(Main Clause)
Unless you hand in your homework, I won't mark it.
means
If you don't hand in your homework, I won't mark it.

or...

(Main Clause)
(IF Clause)
I won't mark your homework unless you hand it in.
means
I won't mark your homework if you don't hand it in.

Note! We never use will, or won't in the if part of the sentence.

For example:

  • If I have time today, I will phone my friend. = I will phone my friend if I have time today. (It is possible that I will have time - therefore the condition is real).
  • If I go to England, I will buy some Cheddar cheese. = I will buy some Cheddar cheese if I go to England. (It is possible that I will go to England - therefore the condition is real).
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