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Intermediate

First conditional - Rules and exercises for intermediate level

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Friday, 18 December 2015
Example of first conditional: if you come to the party I will make a cake. Example of first conditional: if you come to the party I will make a cake. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

An overview of the first conditional tense explains what rules you need to follow when using this tense, with examples and exercises to help you learn. This online lesson in English grammar is designed for intermediate level students.

Uses of the first conditional

We use the first conditional to express a possible condition and its probable result in the future.

Form of the first conditional

If present simple(condition) will infinitive (result)

First conditional: positive and negative

If

I

you

we

they

come to the party

don't come to the party

I

you

we

they

 

will

won't

make a cake

(result)

 

he

she

it

comes to the party

doesn't come to the party

he

she

it

First conditional: question

If

 

I

you

we

they

go to the shops

what

will

I

you

we

they

buy?

(result)

 

he

she

it

goes to the shops

 

he

she

it

Uses of the first conditional

In a sentence structure, the 'if' clause describes the condition or requirements needed to make a future event or consequence occur.

Possibilities

We use the first conditional to describe possible outcomes if an action does/does not take place.

If I can't remember, I'll improvise!
If you don't wear a sun hat, you may get sunburned.
If I save my money, I will buy a car.
My sister will be sad if I miss her recital.
If it is sunny, we will go to the park.
You will struggle in the exam if you don't revise.

Future events

We use the first conditional to  forecast outcomes based on a possible action taking place.

If you go to the shops, please buy some apples.
If you meet Sally, let her know I am running late.
If you pack your swimming costume, we can go to the beach.

Consequences

We use the first conditional to describe a certain outcome if a prior action takes place.

If you tell him that, he will not believe you.
If you don't finish lunch, you won't have an ice cream later.
If you are mean, I will not be your friend.
If you eat too much, you'll get sick!
If you practice the violin, you will become a good musician.

First conditional: be careful!

1. Instead of “will”, we can use the imperative to describe cause and effect.

If the apples are bruised, don't buy them.
Remember to say 'thank you' if you see Auntie Caroline.
If she comes home late, I will be cross.

2. Instead of “will”, we can use modals

If you grow your hair, you could look like a princess.
I could buy some ice cream if you want to share it with me.
If it is windy on Saturday, we could fly our kite.
If you need help, you should talk to your teacher.
If you don't give that back, I'll never speak to you again!

3. We can use temporal conjunctions such as when, before and after can be used instead of if in the condition clause to talk about future events. The present tense always follows the clause here. Check out our grammar point just on time clauses.

Some examples:

I'll buy a cat when we move house.
When you come to stay, we'll go shopping.
He won't be happy when he finds out!
I'll be home before sunset.
He likes to read the newspaper before lunch.
Before you go you should plan your trip.
You should visit the museum after you have settled in.
He always has a nap after lunch.
After she left we felt a little sad.
I'll tidy up as soon as I can.
We'll start as soon as the guests arrive.
Please let me know as soon as you can.
I won't stop until I have to!
We can't play cricket until the rain stops.
You can't go shopping in until they open the shop.

 

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Last modified on Sunday, 05 February 2017 22:53

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