Sophie is in Iceland for work and Oliver is in a really bad mood. 


We use conditional sentences to say one thing depends on another. They can be used to talk about real or imaginary situations. One of the clauses starts with if (or a similar word) – this is the conditional clause. The other clause talks about the result of the conditional clause happening.


Don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than it sounds. Let’s look at some examples.

If you don’t tell me, I’ll just keep asking.
If I promise to travel less, will you forgive me?

I know that one. It’s a first conditional: if + present simple, then will + infinitive.

That’s right. It’s for talking about a situation in the future which the speaker thinks is quite possible. If the first condition happens, something will happen as a result. In this conditional sentence, the present tense after if refers to the future, not the present.

And can you change the order of the clauses round?

Yes, and we leave out the comma in the middle of the sentence if the order is changed round.

I’ll just keep asking if you don’t tell me.

OK. I also know the second conditional. If + past simple, then would + infinitive.

Right again! This is for talking about an unlikely or unreal condition.

If you travelled less because of me, I’d feel worse.
If I had the opportunity to visit places like that, I wouldn’t complain!

So, in the second example, Oliver doesn’t think he will have the opportunity to travel a lot. It’s possible but improbable. We use the past simple to show that it’s not likely, not to indicate past time.

Can you use any other verbs, apart from would, in this kind of conditional?

Yes, we sometimes use other modal verbs like might or could in the result clause (not the if clause).

I see. What about, 'If you mix blue and yellow, you get green'. Is that a conditional?

Yes. That’s a zero conditional. We often use them for facts, or in academic subjects.

When it rains a lot, the animals move to higher ground. (geography)

What about other words that can replace if, like unless and as long as?

Well, unless is a kind of negative version of if.

I’ll never go unless you take me. (= If you don’t take me, I’ll never go.)

As long as imposes a condition on someone. You’re telling them what you expect them to do.

You can borrow my surfboard as long as you get it back to me by five o’clock.

So if you agree to what I say, you can borrow my surfboard?


Are there any other conditionals?

Well, there’s the third conditional, but we’ll deal with that separately.

Phew! Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll have to stop there.

That’s fine, as long as everything’s clear!

Total votes: 358
Language level: 


If you could go anywhere in the world on your next holiday, where would you go and why?


Youjiro's picture
Youjiro 2 February, 2019 - 10:03

If I had such opportunity I will go to Thailand in my next holiday. I love Thailand's all of culture such as food,nationality,construction.One of best construction is 101 tower.That is highest tower in Thailand.I would like to to top of 101 to take a photo from top of tower.also food culture is really nice.I love that.If I have money I move to Thailand as soon as possible to enjoy my life In the future .3 year ago I persuaded my parents to move to another country to learn English,but my parent refuse my desire .I hope If I could to store money I move to another country .

0 users have voted.
Luigi's picture
Luigi 13 September, 2018 - 11:59

If I get some money, I would like to visit Alaska in my next Holliday’s. I would like to see the northern lights.

0 users have voted.
Batgirl's picture
Batgirl 10 June, 2018 - 16:41

If I had such opportunity, I'd go to tropical islands. I like the nature and the climate, and I also like tropical plants and animals.

0 users have voted.
MyStudyCoachJonas's picture
MyStudyCoachJonas 3 October, 2017 - 00:28

If I could go on holiday, I would go to China, because it is one of the oldest cultures in the world.

14 users have voted.
Didoo's picture
Didoo 1 September, 2017 - 14:24

I don't understand this sentence: "I'd known,I would have asked,you know that."
What is its conditional type ?
Because you use the "would" at both sentence

24 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
Jonathan - Coor... 1 September, 2017 - 17:17

Hi Didoo. Good question! In 'I'd known', the 'd' is short for 'had', not 'would'. So, it's a third conditional :) You can find out more about it here.

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

19 users have voted.
DREAMER21's picture
DREAMER21 2 July, 2017 - 22:03

I'd go to Dubai or London because i love them a lot.
if i had the opportunity to travel to London, i would attend Niall or Liam's show

26 users have voted.
Selenaluyifei's picture
Selenaluyifei 7 December, 2016 - 04:17

i want to go places which distinct around the world like china ,France,America.Cuz i really love travelling.

84 users have voted.
Otaku4613's picture
Otaku4613 29 November, 2016 - 14:36

I love Japan!!!! I am practising Japanese! (why do we have to type the characters in the picture to post, mendoksei!!)

93 users have voted.
moonatina's picture
moonatina 24 November, 2016 - 13:45

If I could go anywhere on my holiday, I would go to Canada. I'd like to visit any country, which is far from my home, but I prefer Canada, because I want to talk with the director of my favourite dance company and, of course, to see their new performances on stage, not only internet.

75 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
Jonathan - Coor... 22 September, 2016 - 04:55

Welcome! Please write all comments in English, so all our users can understand. Thanks :)
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

105 users have voted.
ealkan's picture
ealkan 7 September, 2016 - 07:23

I wanna visit the North Pole. Cos I really wonder Aurora. It looks very amazing. Also I want stay in there with my girlfriend, my dog and my tea. There are awesome combine!

103 users have voted.
hgsmf's picture
hgsmf 21 August, 2016 - 00:45

I reckon I would go to Sharm-ElSheikh. I went there for 2 times and I loved it so much, its weather,shops,sea and everything there. If I had the opportunity , I would go there.

108 users have voted.
Anonymouss's picture
Anonymouss 9 July, 2016 - 16:45

I think I would go to Usa and Australia because I've never visited them and I want to visit all the continents

118 users have voted.
GJIMEN1996's picture
GJIMEN1996 11 August, 2016 - 18:17

the country I would like to visit is Japan for its culture, anime and it has beautiful sceneries

103 users have voted.
Anita23's picture
Anita23 6 June, 2016 - 02:06

It is a very hard question. because I want to visit a lot of places, but I think if I could go anywhere on my holidays, I would go to Holland. It's my dream since I was five years old, and I think it is a wonderful city for tourists.

116 users have voted.