Transcript: The Conditional Tense in under 7 minutes

If I would have one pound for every time I hear this, 

I would be a very rich woman. 

The thing is ‘If I would have’ is wrong, it is bad English, 

and a lot of people say it – including my daughters 

– which is really irritating! 

I say, ‘Don’t speak Internet, speak English!’ 

Anyway… 

Today I am talking about the conditional tense. 

The conditional tense has four parts. 

We have Zero, One, Two and Three. 

Zero Conditional

We use Zero Conditional when we have a fact. 

So, if I go to school, it takes 10 minutes. 

This is a fact. 

If I go… 

‘Go’ is the present simple. 

It takes… 

‘Takes’ is the present simple. 

So, in Zero Conditional, we use the present simple for both of the clauses.

The First Conditional

In the First Conditional, we say, 

‘If you go outside in the cold, you will get ill’. 

If you do something, this will happen; 

there is no doubt about it. 

So, in the ‘If clause’, we say, 

‘If you go…’ 

‘Go’ is the present simple, and then in the other clause we say, ‘…you will…’ 

We always use the future ‘will’ with the First Conditional.

The Second Conditional

Today I am focussing on the Second Conditional. 

So, at the start of the lesson I said, 

‘If I would have one pound for every time somebody says this, I would be a very rich woman.’ 

‘If i would have one pound’ is wrong; 

it is: ‘If I had one pound’. 

So, we take the verb ‘have’ 

and we take it one step backwards. 

So, ‘have’ becomes ‘had’… 

If I had one pound for every time somebody says this, 

I would be a very rich woman. 

So, If I would see my friend at school, I would tell him my news. 

No! If I saw my friend at school, I would tell him my news. 

If I would eat all of these chips… 

No! If I ate all of these chips, I would have a poorly tummy.

If I would go into town… 

No! If I went into town, I would buy a new pair of shoes. 

So, we take the verb in the ‘If clause’ 

and we take it one step backwards. 

If I would go becomes: If I went. 

If I would eat becomes: If I ate. 

If I would see becomes: If I saw, and 

If I would have becomes: If I had. 

And we can use ‘had’ and ‘saw’ and ‘ate’ and ‘went’ with all of the subjects. 

So, we can say, ‘If my friend saw me in town, he would tell me his news.’ 

We can put the ‘If clause’ at the front of the sentence or at the back of the sentence. 

So, I can say, 

‘If I ate all of these chips, I would have a poorly tummy.’ 

Or I could say, 

‘I would have a poorly tummy if I ate all of these chips.’  

We can put the ‘If clause’ at either the beginning or the end of the sentence.

The Third Conditional

We use the Third Conditional when we are talking about a ‘lost opportunity’. 

(This means when something happened and it could have happened differently.) 

In the ‘If clause’, we say, 

‘If I had’ – plus past participle – and the past participle is the third row of the verb tables. 

If I had seen… 

If I had gone… 

If my friend had bought… 

If my teacher had marked… 

This is the ‘If clause’, and we use ‘If I had’ – plus the past participle. 

Then, in the other clause, we say, 

‘I would have’ plus past participle. 

I would have seen… 

I would have told… 

My teacher would have given… 

My friend would have bought. 

So, we have the ‘If clause’ and the other clause. 

If I had seen my friend in town, I would have told him my news. 

(Contractions with the Third Conditional)

We can also say, 

‘If I had seen my friend in town, I’d have told him my news.’ And we can also say, 

‘If I’d seen my friend in town, I’d have told him my news. 

Click on the link above for more information about the word I’d. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson, and that you have learned something. 

I look forward to seeing you again. 

Thanks for watching! 

Bye for now!

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