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Conditional Tutorial

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Conditional Tutorial

There are two kinds of conditional sentences: real and unreal. Real Conditional describes real-life situations. Unreal Conditional describes unreal, imaginary situations. Although the various conditional forms might seem quite abstract at first, they are actually some of the most useful structures in English and are commonly included in daily conversations. If you prefer to use the conditional pages as a reference only and do not want to complete the tutorial, Click Here.

The tutorial should be completed as follows:

1. Read this introduction page.

2. Prepare for the exercises by reading the descriptions of the different conditional forms.

TOPICS COVERED

“If” vs. “When”

Present Unreal Conditional


Present Real Conditional and Present Unreal Conditional


Past Unreal Conditional


Past Real Conditional and Past Unreal Conditional


Present Unreal Conditional
and Past Unreal Conditional


Future Real Conditional


Future Real Conditional
and Future Unreal Conditional


Continuous Conditional Forms


Mixed Conditionals

“Were to” in Past, Present and Future

All Conditional Forms

Conditional Overview with Examples

Present Real Conditional Present Unreal Conditional
If I have time, I study English.
Sometimes I have time.
If I had time, I would study English.
I don’t have time.
Past Real Conditional Past Unreal Conditional
If I had time, I studied English.
Sometimes I had time.
If I had had time, I would have studied English.
I didn’t have time.
Future Real Conditional Future Unreal Conditional
If I have time, I will study English.
If I have time, I am going to study English.
I don’t know if I will have time or not. 

Other forms possible.
If I had time, I would study English.
I won’t have time. 

Other forms possible.

 

Engleza

Future in the Past

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Future in the Past

Like Simple Future, Future in the Past has two different forms in English: “would” and “was going to.” Although the two forms can sometimes be used interchangeably, they often express two different meanings.

FORM Would

[would + VERB]

Examples:

  • I knew you would help him.
  • I knew you would not help him.

FORM Was/Were Going To

[was/were + going to + VERB]

Examples:

  • I knew you were going to go to the party.
  • I knew you were not going to go to the party.

USE 1 Future in Past

 

Future in the Past is used to express the idea that in the past you thought something would happen in the future. It does not matter if you are correct or not. Future in the Past follows the same basic rules as the Simple Future. “Would” is used to volunteer or promise, and “was going to” is used to plan. Moreover, both forms can be used to make predictions about the future.

Examples:

  • I told you he was going to come to the party. plan
  • I knew Julie would make dinner. voluntary action
  • Jane said Sam was going to bring his sister with him, but he came alone. plan
  • I had a feeling that the vacation was going to be a disaster. prediction
  • He promised he would send a postcard from Egypt. promise

REMEMBER No Future in Time Clauses

Like all future forms, Future in the Past cannot be used in clauses beginning with time expressions such as: when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of using Future in the Past, you must use Simple Past.

Examples:

  • I already told Mark that when he would arrive, we would go out for dinner. Not Correct
  • I already told Mark that when he arrived, we would go out for dinner. Correct

ACTIVE / PASSIVE

Examples:

  • I knew John would finish the work by 5:00 PM. Active
  • I knew the work would be finished by 5:00 PM. Passive
  • I thought Sally was going to make a beautiful dinner. Active
  • I thought a beautiful dinner was going to be made by Sally. Passive

More About Active / Passive Forms

Engleza

Would Always

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Would Always

FORM

[would always + VERB]

Examples:

  • You would always take your surfboard with you when you went to the beach.
  • Would you always take your surfboard with you when you went to the beach?
  • You would not always take your surfboard with you when you went to the beach.

USE 1 Habit in the Past

 

Like “used to” and Simple Past, “would always” expresses the idea that something was an old habit which stopped in the past. It says that an action was often repeated in the past, but it is not usually done now. Unlike “used to” and Simple Past, “would always” suggests that someone willingly acted that way and sometimes expresses annoyance or amusement at the habit. It also often suggests the habit was extreme. To express the opposite idea, we can say “would never” to indicate that someone never did something in the past, but now they do.

Examples:

  • She would always send me strange birthday gifts.
  • Sam and Mary would always choose the most exotic vacation destinations.
  • Sally would not always arrive early to class. She came late once or twice.
  • Ned would always show up at our house without calling first.
  • Mindy would not always walk to school. Sometimes, she took the bus.
  • Christine would always come late to the meetings.
  • Jeff would never pay for drinks when we went out together with our friends.
    Refusing to do something or normally not doing something is also a form of habit.

REMEMBER “Would Always” is Different

“Would always” is not exactly the same as “used to” or the Simple Past. “Would always” cannot be used to talk about past facts or generalizations. It can only be used for repeated actions.

Examples:

  • Sarah was shy, but now she is very outgoing. Correct
  • Sarah used to be shy, but now she is very outgoing. Correct
  • Sarah would always be shy, but now she is very outgoing. Not Correct

Forms Related to “Would Always”

In addition to “would always,” English speakers often use “would constantly,” “would often,” “would forever” or simply “would.” Although the last form “would” is correct, it is not suggested because it can easily be confused with other verb forms such as the Conditional or Future in the Past. Similarly, speakers can use “would rarely,” “would occasionally” and “would seldom” to express the idea that an action was not often repeated.

Examples:

  • Jerry would come to the parties every weekend.
  • Jerry would constantly bring his girlfriend to the parties.
  • Jerry would often bring his best friend to the parties.
  • Jerry would occasionally bring his older brother to the parties.
  • Jerry would seldom bring his sister to the parties.
  • Jerry would never bring his younger brother to the parties.

ACTIVE / PASSIVE

Examples:

  • My mother would always make the pies. Active
  • The pies would always be made by my mother. Passive

More About Active / Passive Forms