English Conditionals: 1st Conditional
If this man doesn’t concentrate, he’ll crash!
Look at that sentence: “If this man doesn’t concentrate, he’ll crash.” You’ve almost certainly seen sentences like that one, but you may not know how to correctly make them yourself. That’s what we’ll talk about today. To start this post, watch this video and try to understand as much as you can.
(If it’s too difficult, or if you hate ice cream, you can also follow the lyrics here):
In this song, do you think there’s a real possibility that the singer will run? The song’s title is “If I Run”; when we use the word “if,” we’re expressing a possibility. Sometimes the possibility is real, and sometimes the possibility is unreal. Sentences with “if” are also called “conditional sentences” because they express an idea or a desire for the future, but they also mention a condition or requirement for the idea or desire to happen.
If I more people follow Sitzman ABC, I will be happy.
In the next few days we’ll look at three common ways to use conditionals in English. Today we’ll talk about the First Conditional:
The First Conditional
(Real, Probable Possibility)
First conditional phrases talk about real, possible situations. These phrases have two parts:
1. The “if” part (also called the “if phrase,” “if clause,” or “condition”)
2. The “future” part (also called the “future clause” or “result”)
For example, I can say:
If you learn some grammar, your English will improve.
In this case, the condition is first, and the result is second. You can also generally reverse the order of the two parts (but remove the comma):
Your English will improve if you learn some grammar.
In both sentences, the “if” part expresses the condition or requirement (you learn some grammar), and the result expresses what will happen (your English will improve).
In the first conditional, the condition is written in a present tense (present simple, present continuous, or present perfect), and the result is written in a future tense (will, going to, can, may, might, must):
If Ken misses the bus, he will walk home.
If Ken is learning English, he’s going to learn conditional tenses.
If Ken hasn’t eaten, he can buy a sandwich in the cafeteria.
If these three do impressive stunts, they may be on TV some day.
In other words,
If (subject of condition) (present tense verb),
(then) (subject of result) (future tense) (infinitive verb) .
It’s also very common to contract the “will” part to something like “I’ll” or “you’ll.” For example:
If Kristina practices a lot, she’ll become an expert.
Can you complete the following phrases?
If I feel bored tonight, ___________ .
Mary will feel happy if ___________ .
If everyone in class passes the exam, ___________ .
Now that you’ve learned a bit more about these phrases, listen to the song again and try to find some phrases that use the first conditional. Here are the lyrics (I’ll put the first conditional phrases at the end of this post so you can check your answers):
Semisonic – “If I Run”
Morning comes and morning goes
Now it’s me against the sun
The day goes by and darkness grows
And it’s over before it’s done
Well I know it’ll be alright if I just get on the road
If I run I can free my worried mind
Yeah I know on the day I die I will lose my heavy load
But I wouldn’t want to leave you behind
All my time keeps creeping on
Now I’ve grown into a man
But Mr. Child still wants to run
From the cradle to the van
Keep thinking it’ll be alright if I just get on the road
If I run I can free my worried mind
Keep thinking of the day I die when I lose my heavy load
But I wouldn’t want to leave you behind.
Did you find the first conditional phrases? They are:
“I know it’ll be alright if I just get on the road”
“If I run I can free my worried mind”
Do you know other songs that use the first conditional? One that I like is Garth Brooks’ “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” but it’s a bit more complicated because he also mixes in the second conditional (which we’ll talk about in a few days). If you want more information about the first conditional, check out this page or this page.
So, that’s it for today! If you have any questions or problems, please tell me. Sometimes it’s difficult to make grammar interesting and easy to understand!
Thanks for reading, and keep checking Sitzman ABC in the coming days to learn more about second and third conditionals!
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