“If” Part 1 – Zero Conditional

In English there are many times we use the word “if”. These sentences are called “conditionals”.

There are four types:

  1. Zero Conditional

“If I drink too much coffee I can’t sleep”

drink coffee 5.jpg

  1. First Conditional

“If I drop my phone it will break”

drop phone 4.jpg

  1. Second Conditional

“If I won the lottery, I would buy a car.”

lotto 6.jpg

  1. Third Conditional

“If I hadn’t drunk so much last night I wouldn’t have had a hangover this morning.”

drink 6.jpg

 

All of these sentences have two parts. There is the conditional (the “if” part) and the result.

The order doesn’t matter.

“If I drop my phone it will break” is the same as “My phone will break if I drop it.”

All of these conditionals have different meanings. We will look at them one by one

Zero Conditional – Facts

“If I drink too much coffee I can’t sleep”

drink coffee 5

In this sentence we have the condition “If I drink too much coffee” then we have the result “I can’t sleep.”

The condition is in present tense. The result is in present tense.

In English we use present tense for things that are always true (“I am Canadian”) or things that happen again and again regularly (I exercise everyday).

Zero conditional sentences aren’t really conditionals. They are basically just facts. You don’t even need to use the word “if”. You can replace it with “when”, “whenever” or “every time”.

If I watch that movie I cry.

When I watch that movie I cry.

Every time I watch that movie I cry.

We use this grammar when we have experienced something in the past and it was true, so we think that it will be true always. You are not talking about the future, or a plan, you are just stating a fact.

zero.jpg

Next time: First Conditional