Conditional sentences contain two clauses: the “if” (condition) clause, and the “result” clause. All conditionals have two easy, possible structures and either structure can be used without changing the meaning. We can put the “if” clause first, or the “result” first. Note that we only use a comma when the “if” clause come first.
For example: If a certain condition is true, then a specific result happens.
|IF||x = 10,||2x = 20|
For example: A specific result happens if a certain condition is true.
|2x = 20||IF||x = 10|
Here’s a little chart to help you visualize.
|100%||Zero Conditional||If I don’t eat for a long time, I get very hungry.||Any Time|
|~50%||First Conditional||If she sees him, she will tell him the news.||Future|
|~10%||Second Conditional||If he studied harder, he would graduate with honours.||Future|
|0%||Third Conditional||If they had gone to Hawaii, they would have surfed everyday.||Past|