1st and 2nd conditional

Conditional Sentences

Conditional Sentences usually consist of two clauses: an "if" clause and a main clause.

There are four basic conditional sentence patterns where our choice of verb-forms depends on the time of the conditional (past, present or future) and how possible or impossible we think the event is.

The simple structure of the conditional sentences

All conditional types

  • Zero Conditional (possible at any time, but mostly common in the present) e.g. If your dog is depressed, he probably needs more exercise.
  • First Conditional (possible in the future) e.g. If it rains, I won't go to the park.
  • Second Conditional (impossible in the present/possible in the future) e.g. If you were a bit nicer, he wouldn't get so cross.
  • Third Conditional (impossible in the past) e.g. If she had studied, she would have passed the exam.

1st Conditional

Simple explanation of the 1st conditional

The first conditional has the present simple after 'if', then the future simple in the other clause:

  • if + present simple, ... will + infinitive

It's used to talk about things which might happen in the future. Of course, we can't know what will happen in the future, but this describes possible things, which could easily come true.

First Conditional Exercise

Make the first conditional

1) If I 

(go) out tonight, I 

(go) to the cinema.


2) If you 

(get) back late, I 

(be) angry.


3) If we 

(not/see) each other tomorrow, we 

(see) each other next week.


4) If he 

(come) , I 

(be) surprised.


5) If we 

(wait) here, we 

(be) late.


6) If we 

(go) on holiday this summer, we 

(go) to Spain.


7) If the weather 

(not/improve) , we 

(not/have) a picnic.


8) If I 

(not/go) to bed early, I 

(be) tired tomorrow.


9) If we 

(eat) all this cake, we ​​​​​​​

(feel) sick.


10) If you 

(not/want) to go out, I 

(cook) dinner at home.


2nd Conditional

Simple explanation of the 2nd conditional

The second conditional uses the past simple after if, then 'would' and the infinitive:

  • if + past simple, ...would + infinitive

(We can use 'were' instead of 'was' with 'I' and 'he/she/it'. This is mostly done in formal writing).

It has two uses.

First, we can use it to talk about things in the future that are probably not going to be true. Maybe I'm imagining some dream for example.

  • If I won the lottery, I would buy a big house. (I probably won't win the lottery)

Second, we can use it to talk about something in the present which is impossible, because it's not true. Is that clear? Have a look at the example:

  • If I had his number, I would call him. (I don't have his number now, so it's impossible for me to call him).

Second Conditional Exercise

Make the second conditional

1) If I (be) you, I (get) a new job.

2) If he younger, he more.

3) If we (not/be) friends, I (be) angry with you.

4) If I (have) enough money, I (buy) a big house.

5) If she (not/be) always so late, she (be) promoted.

6) If we (win) the lottery, we (travel) the world.

7) If you (have) a better job, we (be) able to buy a new car.

8) If I (speak) perfect English, I (have) a good job.

9) If we (live) in Mexico, I (speak) Spanish.

10) If she (pass) the exam, she (be) able to enter university.

Feel the difference between the 1st and 2nd conditionals( exercise)

First and Second Conditional Worksheet

1. If I get home late tonight, I  (not eat).

2. If Jan could run 100 metres in 10 seconds, he  (be) an athlete.

3. If Simon catches a fish today, we  (eat) it.

4. She  (buy) a Porsche if she won the lottery.

5. If it  (rain) in the Sahara desert, everyone would be very surprised.

6. If it rains tonight, we  (can/go) to the cinema.

7. If your dog spoke, you  (can/sell) it to the circus.

8. If we play football on Saturday, I  (be) tired on Sunday.

9. You  (become) fat if you eat too much.

10. If I  (be) you, I wouldn't accept that job. It sounds terrible!