English Help‎ > ‎Grammar‎ > ‎Verbs‎ > ‎

Conditional Tenses

MORE: Conditional Tenses

JenniferESL has six videos that teach conditionals. I suggest that you watch these videos, in order, to get a basic understanding of conditionals.

Other videos:
English Grammar Rules: Conditionals
Explains the four conditional forms: zero, first, second, and third.
Another basic explanation of the four conditional forms.
Introduction to Conditionals
A good explanation of conditional tenses
Modals: Would
Explains how we use "would" in conditional tenses

This video describes how to use "could" in the conditional tenses.

Songs that use conditional tenses

Web pages with explanations and exercises

Conditional sentences and examples
This page has a good basic description with examples.
Grammar Rules: Conditionals
All conditional tenses tell us "what if..."

Sentences that use conditional tenses have two parts. One part (or clause,) tells about a condition, or situation (if...). The other part tells about a result, or a possible result (then...).

If... (condition) Then... (result)
 If I work late, I take a taxi home.
 If she were a bird, she would fly away.
 If he knew English better,  he could go to college.

You can use "then" in the sentence, but you don't have to.
Both these sentences are correct:
If you are late, we will miss the train.
If you are late, then we will miss the train.

: When you see "if" in a sentence, the sentence uses a conditional tense.

Present, Past, and Future
We can talk about the present, the past, and the future using conditional tenses.

Real and Unreal
Conditionals tell us either about real (factual) conditions or unreal (unlikely) conditions. Examples: 
"If I were a bird, I would fly away." (Unreal)
"If I work late, I take a taxi home. (Real)

You will also see these terms: zero, first, second, third.

NOTE: It can be confusing to read about conditional tenses because English teachers disagree about the names to call the tenses. Try to look at the sentences used as examples and understand them - don't worry too much about what the tenses are called.