English Grammar Conditional Sentences Types & Exercises

By | September 8, 2018

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A sentence indicates some condition in the conditional or the subordinate clause. This conditional clause is also called an if clause. There are three types of conditional sentences.

(i)If you serve me, I shall pay you.

(ii)If the horse were to be quite sound. I would buy it.

(iii)If you had helped me, I would have been very grateful to you.

The above sentences have two parts.

If you serve me – this is a conditional clause or an if clause. It emphasizes the condition that must be fulfilled before the other part of a sentence may be possible. So, another part of each sentence is called the main clause.

If you serve me – Conditional clause

I shall pay you – Main clause

If the horse were to be a quite sound-Conditional clause

I would buy it – Main clause

If you had helped me – Conditional clause

I would have been very grateful to you-Main clause


Type 1 Open Condition:

(i) If you serve me, I shall pay you.

The verb in the conditional clause is in the Present Indefinite, i.e., serve and in Future Indefinite, shall pay in the main clause. The condition stated is related to the future event which may or may not take place. The result depends upon the condition fulfilment. So, the condition is open. Remember that if the main clause has some order or instruction, then the future tense is replaced by the imperative:

 If you want something, come to me.

(i)Children become obedient if you care for them,

If he makes promises, he keeps them.

 These sentences express general laws and habits. In such sentences ‘If’ may be replaced by ‘when’. Tenses in both the clauses are the same.

The two parts of the sentence can be written in reverse order without change of meaning. But remember that the conditional clauses do not have

‘shall’,    ‘will’,    ‘would’,    ‘should’.

(i)If the willingness of another person is sought, then will and would are taken after it.

If you ask her, she will help you.

If you charge less, I will buy it.

(i)In doubtful cases means when the conditional clauses appear to be likely less fulfilled.

If you should you charge less. I will buy it.

(ii)To express possibility or permission auxiliary verb ‘may’ or ‘can’ may be used.

If you run fast, you may catch the bus. (Possibility)

(iii)If + negative verb in the conditional clause can be replaced by unless + affirmative verb.

Unless you work hard, you can’t hope to pass.

Unless it is fine today. we shall not play.

Type 2 Improbable or Imaginary Condition:

 If the horse were to be quite sound, I would buy it.

 If I won a big prize, I would give a party.

 The first sentenced en cites that it is hypothetical or imaginary. The second sentence represents what can be happened. In the first sentence, the possibility of its happening is uncertain. Note that the sequence of tenses is the same in these two sentences.

Uses of Type – 2

(i)The condition where things are supposed to happen ‘ was to’ can be used in the conditional clause.

If I were the principal of the school, I would change the system of the school.

(ii)This type is used when we expect some action in the conditional clause should not be happening.

If you cheated me, I would break off our friendship.

(iii)The willingness of another person is asked in a polite way.

If you would ask me, I would help you.

Type 3 Impossible Condition:

If you had helped me. I would hazy obliged.

 This sentence refers to past events so, the condition is not fulfilled.

 The Past Perfect Tense can be introduced in the conditional clause with a present condition when the action is a past action in the conditional clause but the main clause is in the present.

 If he had followed my instructions, he would have been a topper now.

 Types of Conditional Clauses:



Note: These sentences refer to the Present or Future and the Past tense in their conditional clauses that is not a true past tense. It only indicates unreality or improbability.

Note: Here we know that the conditions can’t be fulfilled because the sentences refer only to past events,


Complete the following sentences by supplying the conditional clause or the main clause as the case may be.

(a)If we had a car……………………………………

(b)The water will evaporate if……………………………………

(c)When we meet again……………………………………

(d)If it rains……………………………………

(e)I shall not open the door unless……………………………………


(a) I would drive to the countryside every weekend.

(b) you boil it for a long time.

(c) we shall talk a lot.

(d) the crops will be damaged.

(e) you knock three times.

Download the above Exercise in PDF (Printable)



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