Conditionals

We are going to consider one example to illustrate the use of all of the conditional tenses. 

It is very useful to be able to vividly show the difference in context to students when revising conditionals.

Each conditional has a very clear need for communication.

Announce to your students that there is a blogger competition to see who can raise the most money for a charity.

Five different bloggers might take part.

 

Students can come up with their own names and types of blogs. The number of subscribers should work like this though: 3 similar, 1 clearly above the rest, 1 underdog.

Jack

Sports

About 400k subscribers

Jill

Travel

About 400k subscribers

John

Lifestyle

About 400k subscribers

Judy

Current Events

About 5M subscribers

Jim

Music

About 100k subscribers

Now, your students will notice there is a clear favorite. Judy has 5 million subscribers. She should easily win.

They will also notice there is an underdog. Announce that Jim is your favorite blogger here. He's only got 100 000 subscribers. He's definitely not likely to win the competition but he is always happy to support a good cause.

Conditional 0

Basic Logic

  • When something always happens with this condition

Form

If + Present Simple,

 

Present Simple

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If Judy takes part, she wins!

She is a clear cut above the rest and should undoubtedly win. We are expressing it as a rule.

Surprises do happen in life though...

Conditional 1

Basic Logic

  • When we talk about the future with

    • if / unless​

    • when / after / before

    • the moment / as soon as

    • etc.

Form

If + Present Simple,

 

Future

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If Judy doesn't take part, Jack will probably win.

This is a future scenario, an opinion, based on what you know.

You can use this express an opinion or to make plans.

Announce that the competition now starts.

Unfortunately, Judy and Jim are not taking part.

Conditional 2

Basic Logic

  • When we talk of a Different Reality

Form

If + Past Simple,

 

would + V1

Now, Automate

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And, Develop Fluency

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If Jim knew about the charity, he'd want to help!

(= he doesn't know)

 

Our favorite blogger Jim was simply unaware of the charity and the competition.

Basic Logic

  • When we talk of a Different Now

Form

If + Past Continuous,

 

would + be + Ving

Now, Automate

Find all the activities you need to automate and build reflexes

And, Develop Fluency

Find all the speaking activities and projects you need to develop fluency

If Jim were taking part, I'd be watching.

(= he isn't, so I'm not)

This 2nd conditional example focuses on the moment now.

Announce that the competition has now ended.

You may announce your winner, Jack, Jill or John. We use Jill in our examples below.

If you decided to involve the students in the description of the bloggers, you may also involve the students by having them briefly design the blogs, present them and vote on a winner for the competition.

Conditional 3

Basic Logic

  • When we talk about a Different Past

Form

If + Past Perfect,

 

would + have + V3

Now, Automate

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And, Develop Fluency

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If Judy had taken part, she'd have won.

(= she didn't, so she didn't win)

This simply states a different version of the past. It is often used for regrets, criticizing, justifying, and speculating on what might have been.

Mixed Conditionals

Basic Logic

  • When we combine 2 of the following 3:

    • Different Reality​

    • Different Now

    • Different Past

Form

If +

  • Past Simple

  • Past Continuous

  • Past Perfect,

would + 

  • V1

  • be + Ving

  • have + V3

Now, Automate

Find all the activities you need to automate and build reflexes

And, Develop Fluency

Find all the speaking activities and projects you need to develop fluency

If John had won, his subscribers would be proud.

If Jack had won, his subscribers would be congratulating him.

If Jim knew about this competition, he would have taken part.

Mixed conditionals are natural extensions of 2nd and 3rd conditionals.

Make sure you build up your students in confidence by automating 2nd conditional and automating 3rd conditional solidly first.

Surprise your students with activities that combine both. Your students will naturally produce mixed conditionals without "teaching" mixed conditionals.

EFL Materials designed to be flexible and independent for the teacher, and to build up in fluency and confidence for the student.

 

Contact us if you have more questions about our teacher support.

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