How and when to use the First Conditional in English

First conditional

If you read this blog post, you’ll know how to use the First Conditional…

If you read this blog post, you’ll know how to use the First Conditional. (Did you notice how that sentence uses the First Conditional?)

Last Monday we discussed the 0 (zero) Conditional.  We saw that we use it to talk about concrete facts or something that is always true. For example, if you heat water to 100 degrees, it boils. Water always boils when we heat it to 100 degrees, so we use the 0 (zero) conditional.
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Today, we’re going to take a look at the First Conditional. We use this form to talk about a specific future event that is likely to happen, and the consequences of this event.

 

For example:

If you study hard, you’ll pass the exam.

If you watch TV in English, you’ll learn quickly.

If it rains, I won’t go out.

If I see her, I’ll give her the money.

 

It is formed like this:

If + present simple, will + base verb.

If + future event, will + consequences.

If you study hard, you will [you’ll] pass the exam.

We can also change round the order of the words, removing the comma:

Will + base verb if + conditional.

Will + consequences if + future event.

You’ll pass the exam if you study hard.

Let’s have a look at some more examples, using both types of word order:

Mum will kill me if she finds out!

Or

If mum finds out, she’ll kill me!

 

I’ll come to visit you if I get paid next week.

Or

If I get paid next week, I’ll come to visit you.

 

If you don’t hurry, you’ll miss your flight.

Or

You’ll miss your flight if you don’t hurry!

 

The word will can be replaced by modal verbs, such as can and must:

 

I can come to visit you if I get paid next week.

If you visit Madrid, we must meet for a coffee!

 

Next week I’ll post about the Second Conditional. Until then, happy practicing!

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