IF-CONDITIONAL CLAUSES

IF-CONDITIONAL SENTENCES and SUBJUNCTIVES

  1. CONDITIONAL SENTENCE TYPE ONE : (present or future possibility)

MAIN CLAUSE    IF   SUB CLAUSE

____________________

Present future        if     present

e.g.        –              The snake will bite you if you move.

–      The calculation will be more accurate if you use computer.

Possible  variations of the main clause :

1.1  may / might ( possibility)  if  simple present

e.g.        –              Everyone may ignore you if you don’t change your topic.

–      Some arguments might appear if you prepare the presentation well.

1.2  may ( permission) or can (permission / ability)   if  simple present

e.g.        –              You may leave the room if your documents are in order.

–      The students can express their ideas in writing and speaking if they are trained regularly.

1.3  must, should, any expression of command, request and advice  if  simple present

 e.g.        –              You should eat less bread if you want to lose your weight.

–      You must call this number if your house is on fire.

–      Prepare everything carefully if you don’t want to get trouble in your journey.

–      If you see Ditto, will you ask him to ring me?

–      You had better take a rest for a while if you feel tired.

 

Variations of the if-clause

1.4. if  +  present continuous : to indicate a present action or future arrangement

e.g.  –     You had better join the queue if you are waiting for the bus. (=indicate a present action)

–     You may use our car if you are having a journey with your family next month. ( future arrangement )

1.5  if  +  present perfect

e.g. –     I will ask the waiter for the bill if you have finished this meal.

–     The students should be given a chance to try it by themselves if they have understood the explanation.

 

  1. CONDITIONAL SENTENCE TYPE TWO (= Present contrary to facts)

MAIN CLAUSE   IF   SUB CLAUSE

___________________

Past future             if         past

e.g.  –     I would drive you to the meeting if I had a car,  but I don’t have a car so I don’t drive you.

–     We would be able to handle this if we were given the permission to do it,   but  we can’t handle it because we aren’t given permission to do it.

Type two is used when:

 2.1  the supposition is contrary to the present facts

 e.g.  –     If I were you, I would plant some trees around the house.

But I am not you.

–     The audience would not complain and walk out of the hall if his performances were attractive and qualified.

But  the performances are  not attractive and qualified, so the audience complain and walk out of the hall.

2.2   we don’t expect  the action in the if-clause to take place

e.g.  –     If a burglar came into my house at night, I would throw this iron tool at him.

But  I don’t expect the burglar to come into my house.

         –     If our representative failed in this session, we would lose the chance to win in this prestigious festival.

But  we don’t expect our representative fails in this session.

2.3   might or could can be used instead of “would”

e.g. –     If they knew English well, they could finish it in short time.

But   they can’t finish it quickly because they don’t know English well.

–     The students might give the positive response if they understood the advantage of this activity.

But  the students do not understand the advantage of this activity so they do not give the positive response.

2.4. Past Continuous tense can be used in if-clause

e.g.     – If they were having an experiment this week, they would face some problems because of the bad weather.

But  they are not having an experiment this week.

– The visitors might see the favorite animal if it were being fed.

But   the favorite animal isn’t being fed now.

 

  1. CONDITIONAL SENTENCE TYPE THREE (= past contrary to facts)

MAIN CLAUSE   IF   SUB CLAUSE

____________________

Past future perfect   if     past perfect

e.g.  –     If I had know that he came with his director, I would have prepared the best dinner for them.

But  I didn’t know that he came with his director so I didn’t prepare the best dinner for them.

–     We would have been able to keep in touch with him some years ago if there had been a sophisticated communication tool.

But  there was not a sophisticated communication tool so we weren’t able to keep in touch with him and finally lost him.

 

Possible variations of the main clause :

3.1 could  /  might  can be used instead of “would”

 e.g.     –     If we had found him five minutes earlier, we could have saved his life (ability)

But we couldn’t save his life because we didn’t find him.

–     There might have been few numbers of people died in that disaster if they had paid attention to what the news had said before (possibility)

But  the people didn’t pay attention to what the news had said before so there were many numbers of people died in that disaster.

 

3.2       the continuous form in the main clause may be used

 e.g.     –     I would have been being detained for a day if there hadn’t been someone explaining that I was not involved in the riot.

But  I wasn’t  being detained for a day because there was someone explaining that I was not involved in the riot.

–     Many workers might have been doing the job when the one of the tanks exploded if you hadn’t asked them  to have a rest.

Fortunately, you asked them to have a rest.

 

3.3          We can use past perfect continuous in if-clause :

e.g.     –     If I hadn’t been wearing a good helmet, I would have got  badly injured in that accident.

Luckily, I was wearing a good helmet.

–     If those children had been playing in the sea when the big sudden wave broke on the shore, it would have taken them away from the shore.

Luckily, those children were not playing in the sea when the big sudden wave broke on the shore.

 

  1. SOME NOTES

4.1       Inversion of  subject and its auxiliary

e.g.     –     If she were here, he would play better   =   Were she here, he would play better

–     If he had portrayed the emotion of each character in his novel well, he might have got the first prize    =  Had he  portrayed the emotion of each character in his novel well, he might have got the first prize

–     If your parents should decide to stay, please let me know it   =   Should  your parents decide to stay, please let me know it.

 

 4.2      “will /  would  / should “ can be used  in if-clause type one

4.2.1   in polite request

 e.g.    –     If you would wait for a minute, you can get the  best result.

–     If you would forgive them, they will be relieved.

4.2.2   to indicate the willingness or refusal 

e.g.     –     If he would tell me what he feels, I may be able to help him

–     If he won’t accept  our proposal again, I don’t know what I have to do next.

4.2.3   “should “ is used  to indicate that the action is not very likely

e.g.    –     If you should find no advantage  in this experiment, you can leave it.

–     If it should rain hard, we have to change the plan.

 

4.3  It is possible to have the mixed tense in if– conditional clause.

e.g.    –     if he hadn’t called me last night, I wouldn’t be here.  (fact : I am here because he called me last night)

 

  1. SUBJUNCTIVE (present contrary to the fact)

WISH      +   SENTENCE IN PAST

e.g.     –     The people wish the price of everything didn’t raise so high.

In fact,  it raises higher and higher.

–     The headmaster wishes most students used their time to have advantageous activity.

But, they don’t use their time wisely.

 

  1. SUBJUNCTIVE (past contrary to the fact)

WISH

———       +   SENTENCE IN PAST PERFECT

WISHED

e.g.     – We wish our students had been active in that seminar.

Unfortunately, they were very passive and even looked bored.

– The audience wished the show had introduced the latest styles.

But,  it introduced the same style as those of last year.

 

  1. WOULD RATHER

SENTENCE IN PAST

WOULD RATHER   +  —————————————

SENTENCE IN PAST PERFECT

e.g.     – I would rather you practiced well.

In fact,  he doesn’t practice seriously.

– We would rather the high school students thought more about their future than their feud with those of other schools.

In fact,  we often hear their fight without any acceptable reasons.

– I would rather his parents had met me before the headmaster decided to punish him.

But,  they didn’t come

 

  1. IF ONLY

SENTENCE IN PAST

IF ONLY  +   —————————————

SENTENCE IN PAST PERFECT

e.g.    – If only I knew what to do, I might not be confused like this.

But, I don’t know what to do now.

– If only I had been told about what they needed before the speech, they wouldn’t have been disappointed to my presentation.

But,  the committee told me nothing about the participants.

 

GRAMMAR 

 

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