“If” Part 2 – First Conditional

First Conditional – Predictions

The 1st conditional is very common, we use it for situations that are likely to occur. As with all conditionals there are two parts: the conditional clause and the main clause. The conditional clause will start with the word “if”.

If I drop my phone, it will break.”

drop phone 4.jpg

“If I drop my phone” is the condition. You are saying that if that happens then the result will be the main clauseIt will break.

“If I drop my phone” is in present tense because you are talking about a real action that could happen now.

The result is in future tense, because we think that result will happen after.

Unlike the zero conditional, which states general facts or results that are always true, the first conditional deals with specific incidents. These situations haven’t happened yet, but they are possible and likely.

Zero Conditional:

When I drop my phone it breaks.” = “Every time I drop this phone it always breaks” = I have experienced dropping this same phone in the past, and so I know what the result will be.

 

First conditional:

If I drop my phone, it will break.” = “If I drop my phone now, it will break as a result” = I have never dropped this phone, but based on my knowledge (similar experience, logic etc.) I think I know what will happen.

first.jpg

 

The main clause uses future tense because that’s what we use for likely events.

I will go swimming tomorrow.” This hasn’t happened- but it is a likely plan.

“If it doesn’t rain, I will go swimming tomorrow.” We have the same sentence, but now with a condition.