Zero Conditional: Certainty

We use the Zero Conditional to express general truths and facts. We are thinking about a result that is always true for this condition, and an absolute certainty. We are not thinking about the future, past, or present, but only of a simple fact.

The important thing about the zero conditional is that the condition always has the same result.

We use the Present Simple tense to talk about the condition, and the Present Simple tense to talk about the result.

IF Condition Result
Present simple Present simple
If you don’t love, you can’t live.
If I sleep too late, I miss my morning class.
If people don’t eat, they get hungry.
If you drink too much, do you get a hangover?

.

Result IF Condition
present simple present simple
You can’t live if you don’t love.
My boss gets angry if I am late for work.
I am disappointed  if you don’t pass your exams.
Do you go to the doctor if you are sick?
  • We can use “when” instead of “if”, for example: “When he comes to town, we go for dinner.”
  • We can use “unless” which means “if … not”, for example: “You will be unhappy unless you break up with her” = “You will be unhappy if you do not break up with her.”
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