4 Types of Conditional Sentences in English

In the English language, conditional sentences are like magic keys that unlock different future possibilities based on certain conditions. Think of them as “if-then” statements: if something happens, then something else will follow. These sentences come in four main types, each showing a different way “if” can lead to “then.” Understanding these types can help you express everything from everyday realities to your wildest dreams. So, let’s dive into the world of conditional sentences and discover how they can add color and clarity to our conversations and stories.

What are Conditional Sentences?

Conditional sentences are used to describe hypothetical situations and their possible outcomes. They often involve an “if” clause that sets the condition and a main clause that expresses the result of that condition. These sentences can refer to the past, present, or future.

What are the Types of Conditional Sentences?

The four main types of conditional sentences are:

  1. Zero Conditional – for universal truths or habits.
  2. First Conditional – for real future possibilities.
  3. Second Conditional – for unreal or hypothetical present or future situations.
  4. Third Conditional – for hypothetical situations in the past.

4 Types of Conditional Sentences

Zero Conditional Sentences

The Zero Conditional is used for general truths, scientific facts, or situations that are always true if a specific condition is met.


  • If-Clause: If + subject + present simple verb (If it rains)
  • Main Clause: Subject + present simple verb (it gets wet)


  1. If you freeze water, it becomes ice.
  2. When you heat iron, it expands.
  3. If plants receive sunlight, they grow.
  4. If humans breathe in oxygen, they exhale carbon dioxide.
  5. When water boils, it turns to steam.

First Conditional Sentences

Definition: The First Conditional is used to discuss real and possible situations in the future, expressing conditions that can actually happen.


  • If-Clause: If + subject + present simple verb (If it rains)
  • Main Clause: Subject + will + base form of the verb (I will stay home)


  1. If it rains tomorrow, I will take an umbrella.
  2. If you study tonight, you will pass the exam.
  3. If she saves enough money, she will buy a car.
  4. If they arrive late, they will miss the beginning.
  5. If we don’t hurry, we will be late.

Second Conditional Sentences

Definition: The Second Conditional expresses unreal, hypothetical situations in the present or future, often used to discuss dreams or unlikely scenarios.


  • If-Clause: If + subject + past simple verb (If I were)
  • Main Clause: Subject + would + base form of the verb (I would travel)


  1. If I were president, I would change the law.
  2. If she had more time, she would start painting.
  3. If we lived in Italy, we would eat pasta every day.
  4. If he won the lottery, he would buy a mansion.
  5. If you knew the answer, you would tell me.

3rd Conditional Sentence Examples

The Third Conditional is used for situations that did not happen in the past and their imagined results. It’s constructed using “if” + past perfect tense in the if-clause, and “would have” + past participle in the main clause.


  • If-Clause: If + subject + had + past participle (If I had known)
  • Main Clause: Subject + would have + past participle (I would have gone)


  1. If I had known, I would have called.
  2. If she had arrived on time, she would have seen the show.
  3. If we had saved more money, we would have traveled to Paris.
  4. If he had studied, he would have passed the exam.
  5. If they had left earlier, they would have avoided the traffic.
  6. If you had listened to me, you would have made the right choice.
  7. If she had taken the medicine, she would have felt
  8. If I had bought the tickets earlier, we would have got front row seats.
  9. If we had known about the party, we would have attended.
  10. If he had practiced more, he would have won the competition.
  11. If they had checked the weather, they would have postponed the picnic.
  12. If you had applied for the job, you might have been
  13. If she had realized the time, she would have hurried.
  14. If I had seen you, I would have said
  15. If we had brought an umbrella, we wouldn’t have got
  16. If he had locked the door, the thieves wouldn’t have entered.
  17. If they had planned better, they would have enjoyed the trip more.
  18. If you had told me, I would have helped.
  19. If she had kept her promise, she would have earned my trust.
  20. If I had recognized him, I would have spoken to him.

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Conditional Sentences Exercises

  • If they come, we ——–will be overjoyed.
  • If it rains, the crop will be perfect.
  • She’ll be in big trouble if she doesn’t show up for these classes.
  • Had I been present, I would have heard the news.
  • ——— They came to see us, and we —— greeted them.
  • We wouldn’t be able to meet the teacher if she was ——- busy.
  • If the weather was nice, we could ——- out for a walk.
  • If she —– able to, she would (do) her task.
  • If you ——— in my shoes, you’ll be in big trouble.
  • I would answer the questions if I ———- there.
  • If Ali was given the opportunity, she could ——- write this essay.
  • If you ——— asked, would I not ——— come?
  • Is it possible that if I ———– asked, I could fix this problem?
  • Could you afford to build a large home if you were ———– wealthy?
  • Wouldn’t you have been ———– happier if you were ———– poorer?
  • If they saw him in distress, they would ——— assist him.
  • ——— You purchase this book and read it thoroughly.
  • If war breaks out next week, we’ll all be in big trouble.
  • You should not ——— purchase this useless timepiece.
  • I would ——– do a good job on my papers if I had ———— enough information.

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