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Conditional Sentences If vs Unless * When and How to use them *

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1 Conditional Sentences If vs Unless * When and How to use them *

2 Introduction Conditional sentences have two parts:  Cause Effect / Action Both If and Unless are possible. There are four kinds of conditional sentences. One of them is an exception (type 0). If-clause / unless Every type is composed of Main-clause It doesn’t matter which comes first: I’ll get a good mark, if I learn my vocabulary. If I learn my vocabulary, I’ll get a good mark.

3 Type 0 If-clause Simple present Main-clause If you freeze water, it becomes a solid. Plants die, if you don’t water them. If you mix blue and yellow, you get green.  It comes from oral language and it has a very definite meaning;  In this conditional, the time is now or always; This type of sentence implies that the situation is real, possible or inevitable.

4 Type I If-clause – Present Simple Main-clause – Future (Will + Infinitive) If I learn my vocabulary, I`ll get a good mark.  The if-clause usually indicates a real or possible situation that can happen in the present or in the future.  It is possible and also very probable that the condition will be fulfilled.

5 Type II If-clause – Past simple Main-clause – Conditional (Would + Infinitive) If I learnt my vocabulary, I would get a good mark. Type II is used when a condition is less probable to happen than in Type I Example: Will Mary be in time if she gets the ten o’clock bus? (Type I) No, but she would be in time if she got the nine bus. (Type II)

6 Type II  When we don’t expect the action in the if-clause to take place: Example: If burglar came into my room at night, I would throw something at him. (Meaning, I don´t expect a burglar to come in.)  When the supposition is contrary to known facts: Example: If I had a map, I would lend it to you. (But I haven’t got a map. ) It is possible but very unlikely, that the condition will be fulfilled.

7 Type III If-clause – Past perfect Main-clause – Conditional Perfect [would (not) have + past participle] If I had known that you were coming, I would have met you at the airport. (But I didn’t know so I didn’t went.) NOTE: Both would and had can be contracted to ‘d. You never use would in the IF-clause. Example: “If I’d known” “If I had known“, “I’d have baked” “I would have baked..” It is impossible that the condition will ever be fulfilled because it refers to the past.

8 Unless Unless means the same as if … not. Like if, it is followed by a present, a past or a past perfect tense. It is used instead of if + not in conditional tenses of all types: It is used to emphasize an idea or action. Type I (Unless + Present Simple)  You will never understand English, unless you study this grammar carefully. (= You will never understand English if you don’t study this grammar carefully)

9 Unless Type II (Unless + Past Simple)  Unless he was very hill, he would be at work. (= If he wasn’t very hill, he would be at work) Type III (Unless + Past Perfect)  I wouldn’t have phoned him, unless you had suggested it. (= I wouldn’t have phoned him, if you hadn’t suggested it) Your Teacher: António Andrade


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