Conditional Sentences Types in English

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Conditional sentences are sentences that consist of two parts that are different in meaning.

One part of such sentence is called Result. In this part, we communicate the result of something that can happen, will surely happen, or will never happen. It depends on what type of conditional sentences we are using.

Another part is the Condition. The Condition is what the result depends on. This condition can be real or unrealistic. It also depends on what type of conditional sentences we use.

The Condition and The result in conditional clauses are separated by if, which plays a very important role in such sentences.

In some types of conditional sentences, we use a technique called the “unreal past”. This is when we talk about events using a verb in the past tense, but these events in fact never existed.

Four Types Of Conditional Clauses

Conditional sentences are divided into 4 types:

If I sleep well I feel well.

If I get this job, I will have money to pay the rent.

If I had a billion, I would buy a big castle!

If I had told her the truth, she wouldn’t have left me.

There is also an additional type:

Mixed Conditional – Mixed type

We wouldn’t be poor if we had worked harder.

If you had caught that guy, he would be in jail.

List and examples of 4 types of conditional sentences.
4 types of conditional sentences.

A conditional sentence is divided into the main clause and the subordinate clause.

In the main clause, we tell some kind of result:

If I get this job, I will have money to pay the rent.

The condition is in the subordinate clause.

If I get this job, I will have money to pay the rent.

The clause with the condition begins with the conjunction if.

If I had a billion, I would buy a big castle!

In some cases, we can use the word when instead of the word if.

I feel well if I sleep well.
I feel well when I sleep well.

If the conditional has a negative meaning, then we can replace if with unless.

We can use the condition and the result in any order:

We will be happy if we win the game!
If we win the game we will be happy!

The order of these parts is irrelevant. The main thing is not to forget to use the word if before the condition.

Examples and explanation of the order of the parts of a conditional sentence.
The condition and the result.

What Type Of Conditional Sentence Should You Use?

The choice of the type of conditional clause depends on several factors.

Some of the types are used only with real situations or those events that can happen in reality. Certain types of conditional clauses are used only if the condition is unreal or imaginary.

In short, the use of one or another type of conditional clause looks like this:

  • The Zero Conditional: Real Events. Present time.
  • The First Conditional: Real Events. Future time.
  • The Second Conditional: Unrealistic events. Present or future.
  • The Third Conditional: Unrealistic events. Past.

But in order to understand well all the nuances of using conditional sentences, I strongly advise you to study each of their types separately.

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