Conditionals

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

Instructions

As you watch the video, look at the examples of conditional sentences. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, conditionals correctly.

Transcript

Oliver: Hey, how’s Iceland?
Sophie: I love it.
Oliver: Oh, what a surprise!
Sophie: It is actually. I don’t normally like camping!
Oliver: If I had the opportunity to visit places like that, I wouldn’t complain!
Sophie: What’s the matter with you today, Ollie?
Oliver: Ah, nothing really.
Sophie: If you don’t tell me, I’ll just keep asking ...
Oliver: Hmm. Yesterday, you were so excited, you didn’t ask about my exam!
Sophie: Oh, Ollie! I’m so sorry. You’re more important to me than camping and volcanoes!
Oliver: Well, it doesn’t always feel like it.
Sophie: If I promise to travel less, will you forgive me?
Oliver: No. Because you won’t travel less. You love it. And if you travelled less because of me, I’d feel worse. So … it’s not an option.
Sophie: You don’t make it easy! Seriously, honey, I don’t think I knew about the exam. If I’d known, I would have asked, you know that.
Oliver: Well, anyway. Have you been near that volcano? What’s its name?
Sophie: Even if I had three days of classes, I wouldn’t be able to say it, I don’t think. Wait, I can’t say it unless I read it – Eyjafjallajökull. There are about 30 active volcanoes in Iceland; the eruption in 2010 of Eyja … of that volcano really wasn’t so serious. If it hadn’t affected flights, we wouldn’t have heard much about it. There’s a bigger volcano near it – with a shorter name too – Katla. I’ve been to see that. The landscape here’s awesome ... You can’t imagine what it’s like.
Oliver: No? Well, I’ll never go unless you take me.
Sophie: Darling, please …
Oliver: Sorry. What’s it like?
Sophie: It’s beautiful. Water, rock, ice, lava, geysers … there aren’t many trees, obviously. I’ll send photos later.
Oliver: Look, do you want to speak to Daisy?
Sophie: Ollie, love?
Oliver: I’ll be OK. Let’s talk tomorrow.
Sophie: OK. Hi, Daisy.
Daisy: Hi, Mum.

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.

Ummm?

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?

Exactly.

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!

 
Discussion

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

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Comments

Submitted by rebbit2009 on Tue, 07/19/2022 - 11:58

I think that I would go to Italy, because I really like this country and want to see it ^.^

Submitted by Anouki on Wed, 04/27/2022 - 09:43

If I had the pleasure to go somewhere for the next holidays, it would be Hawaii or any tropical island for sure. The main reason why I chose specifically this place is that for me, there is nothing better on the earth than sitting on the beach and watching the sunset.

Submitted by qwerty on Tue, 03/29/2022 - 09:22

If I could go anywhere in the world, it would be Paris, Paris is a beautiful city!There are many beautiful places here, and the Eiffel Tower is as high as two houses in Moscow City!My family and I have already tried to fly to Paris, but it didn't work out, everything was canceled,I really wanted to visit Disneyland, but I think in the future, I will definitely visit Paris, There are a lot of people here, this makes the city very lively and a great place to hang out, there are a lot of tourists here, and people work. Everyone is doing well because they live in Paris!
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Submitted by Evelyn_Rosario on Fri, 03/25/2022 - 05:28

If I had the opportunity to travel, I would without a doubt travel to my country (USA), to learn to speak English again, since for family reasons we had to come to Mexico a few years ago. Therefore, I want to improve my English and speak it all the time, as well as visit my family, have experiences, return to the places of my childhood, create memories with my brothers and my parents.

Submitted by Abby_137 on Fri, 03/11/2022 - 03:02

If I had a chance to go anywhere in this world, it would definitely be Switzerland. One of the most beautiful countries in the world, with breathtaking scenery, clean and high-standard civilization, everything is perfectly fine. The pleasant weather, picturesque snowy ice-mountains (Swiss Alps, of course), fairy-tale-like castles, gorgeous waterfalls, tasty food, numerous villages; it's surely a living paradise. I have heard that if you are thirsty, it’s OK to drink water from anywhere, even from the stream beside the road. Also, the public restrooms are as clean as the ones in hotels. I am very jealous of those who were born in Switzerland. God clearly has his favorites:). I wish I could spend the rest of my life with my loved ones in a small Swiss village.>

Submitted by lunauztur4 on Tue, 09/14/2021 - 06:46

hello guys i am luna and this is a very cool thing
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Submitted by fanny on Mon, 08/16/2021 - 01:46

If I´ll to travel on the next holiday I travel to Amsterdam, because is a really beautiful place and I would like to drink a coffe or tea if I had enough money to travel with my family

Submitted by strawberry123_ on Wed, 07/28/2021 - 07:34

If I could go anywhere in the world on my next holiday, I would definitely go to Italy. It is my dream to be there for almost 5 years. I would choose that place because it`s a really beautiful, old country with an interesting history. I would definitely go to Rom and visit a lot of museums, including the Coliseum there. Of course, I would also visit Venice, because it is a really beautiful city and I want to walk through its street and ride a gondola. Also, I would like to visit a city near the sea and a city near the mountains in Italy, because there is incredibly beautiful nature.

Submitted by Mamou1 on Thu, 07/15/2021 - 08:56

If I had the opportunity to go anywhere in the world, I would probably go to a place where there is peace, work, beaches, sun, amusement parks and where I can learn something new, discover something I will never expect to see, be able to see other people with a different thought where there is no injustice, segregation, thieves, where everyone can be together and if there really is a place like that in this world I would love to go there. because today the world is a place where we live 70% in fear where there are always many people who believe themselves to be superior, where crime and racism take an important place. so I want a place where everyone can live in peace and this is where I want to spend my hollyday.

Submitted by hermione123 on Fri, 07/16/2021 - 11:02

Tell me about it. It must be a lot of fun to visit that kind of place (if it exists). But honestly, I'm not sure there is a perfect place where nothing bad happens. There is always something that's not we absolutely like. But we can still think positive, that way you can feel a lot better:)

In reply to by Mamou1

Submitted by Mamou1 on Wed, 07/21/2021 - 10:46

Well I'm not going to lie but I have always had an interest in the world, society, people, how do they think, what do they have in mind, Why sometimes, to resolve a conflict , we need war? why does everyone want power ?. I always wanted to find the answers to all these questions because, if we really thought about everything that is going on, it is not our fault but we pay all the consequences. that's why, when the British council asks questions about any place I want to spend my hollyday I did not hesitate to write this answer. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is deraming for this kind of place. However, I completely agree with you, I don't think that now there is such a place, but if we think carefully if you are with the people you love and cherish everywhere would be great. Having a positive mind, optimism can help you solve all the little things that you are not happy with. but i want to believe that if we want such a place we have to work harder, start with ourselves and try to convince others what do you think? and one day maybe the dream will come true, we can have a place like this.

In reply to by hermione123

Submitted by hermione123 on Thu, 07/22/2021 - 07:45

you're interest on our society and the world is just so awesome. i realize that not every people see the world just like you do, that's a shame and you're right, if we want to change the world into a better place for all of us, we should work real hard and start with ourselves. i kinda feel like you're into some kind of activism, is that right?

In reply to by Mamou1

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Submitted by PrinceK on Fri, 07/02/2021 - 10:54

If i had a chance i would probably go to the USA. The main reason is that each of 50 states has its own diverse culture. The Mexico like southern states, the Britain like east coast states, the France like Louisiana and more and more. Also each of the biggest cities in the USA has its own mixed culture that combines unique parts of each state. This is why I want to visit The USA
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Submitted by Cfvdv on Tue, 03/30/2021 - 17:29

Well, if I could go anywhere I want, I would go to France. That is a beautiful country with beatufull architecture, beatuful cities, museums and nice mountains that I could do snowboard.

Submitted by Arivelde on Mon, 03/29/2021 - 16:08

If I could go anywhere in the world, I would probably go to somewhere in Europe. Most likely some place like Italy, Greece, where the landscape is beautiful, where there are a lot of beaches, old cities, great food... But I think that I would like to go to Switzerland too, where I could do snow sports and appreciate a nice cup of one of the best hot chocolate in the world while I look at the famous Swiss Alps.

Submitted by Didik on Mon, 03/22/2021 - 21:06

If I could go anywhere I want, I would go to Disneyworld because there it is verry exciting and cool all the rides they have. I've been there once and i'd like to go there again.

Submitted by ZZaya on Sat, 03/20/2021 - 13:55

If I had time I would speak fluently with English
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Submitted by Kostantinus on Tue, 01/26/2021 - 10:13

I would like to go to some Asia countries, because I love sun, fruits, flowers, monkeys, elephants, beautiful sea landscapes, swimming. I will definitely have a chance to go there in the future.

Submitted by hermione123 on Wed, 01/27/2021 - 23:42

I live in a tropical country, Kostantinus. And, there are so many beautiful beaches in my country, blue sea, warm sunshine, palm trees, tropical trees, tropical fruit, monkeys ( but, just in the jungle, of course ) and tropical forest, waterfall.... ;D

In reply to by Kostantinus

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Submitted by Andrii on Mon, 11/16/2020 - 18:10

If you could go anywhere, I'd go skiing because I didn't ski since 2018 :(

Submitted by hermione123 on Fri, 01/01/2021 - 00:10

i never go skiing, i live in tropical country. but, if i could go anywhere i think i'd go to Europe, maybe i'd try to go skiing

In reply to by Andrii

Submitted by merdidi_104 on Sat, 11/14/2020 - 13:20

For my next holiday,I would go to New York because is such a beautiful place with amazing buildings and culture.

Submitted by Salva23m on Thu, 08/20/2020 - 12:15

I would go to Italy because I was about to go when the quarantine was raised

Submitted by Sana_mostafa on Tue, 07/21/2020 - 15:36

it's very easy thank you
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Submitted by Giovannichoi on Tue, 07/07/2020 - 02:50

I want to visit Greece and Egypt, for there are the famouse attractions, such as Parthenon, and Pyramid.

Submitted by Barking06 on Fri, 05/29/2020 - 00:39

I would travel to the UK due to its landscapes.

Submitted by Egor on Wed, 05/13/2020 - 09:17

If I could go anywhere for the holidays, I would go to England. Because it is interesting for me to see how people live there and look at their culture, look at Big Ben.In addition to this, I want to get into the Tower of London, and take a ride in the London eye.

Submitted by Malyinik on Thu, 05/07/2020 - 13:49

If I could go anywhere in the world on my next holiday, I would go to China. I like to learn about new technologies.

Submitted by Niloy02 on Mon, 04/27/2020 - 03:54

If you could go anywhere in the world on your next holiday, I would love to go Saudi Arabia as Saudi Arabia has many holy places for Muslims to visit we can learn many historic things about Islam there

Submitted by peachygirl on Thu, 04/09/2020 - 18:55

If I could go anywhere in the world, I would go to USA because I really like this country. All the time I wanted to visit this country and it is my dream also now.

Submitted by vittoriadigianno on Thu, 03/26/2020 - 13:04

if i could go anywhere in the world form my next holiday i will go in New York because is a very interesting city and I would like to visit it

Submitted by anna_v3r on Thu, 03/26/2020 - 12:52

If I could go anywhere in the world I would like to visit Greece. I always loved the landscapes and the sea, but I would really love to see the romantic sunsets. Also i really like Greek mythology and i would like to visit every monument built during that time.

Submitted by gio_cra2004 on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 14:54

If I could go anywhere in the world on my next Holiday I would like to visit "London" because it would be an excellent opportunity to learn to speak english well and also because i'd like to visit the big ben tower and London city.

Submitted by Beavolga03 on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:58

I would like visit Miami because my sister said that it’s a beautiful city and i’m vero curious to see this city

Submitted by ftrifi227 on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:54

If i could go anywhere in the world, i think i go to Spain. Spain is a country who fascinates me a lot for the sports, tipical food and festivities. When i will be older, i think i will go there.

Submitted by mart__ on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:42

I would go to Hollywood because I really like movies and in Hollywood there have been very famous and important actors that I like

Submitted by chiarusso on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:27

if i could go on Holiday, i would go to Madagascar in the South of Africa, because i think the view would be wonderful .

Submitted by alaricofranca02 on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 12:51

if I could go anywhere I want, I would go to Berlin because I really like it as a place and it inspires me particularly.

Submitted by mmatildepontoni04 on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 12:12

If i could go somewhere in the world on my next holiday I'll go to Canada because people who live there are so open minded. They share important values such as pride, diversity, and respect for all individuals.

Submitted by Alejandro07 on Sun, 03/15/2020 - 20:10

I would go to the South Korrea beacuse that counttry seems very interesting to me, its culture, the people and the cities. Also, I wanna study and live here because I love South Korea.

Submitted by Lucrecampa on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:42

If I could go anywhere in the world for my next holiday I will go to Greece because I always liked

In reply to by Alejandro07

Submitted by Rohan26 on Fri, 07/19/2019 - 01:35

because i want to live in america and become like google CEO Sunder Pichai and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella they are from India.

Submitted by Rohan26 on Fri, 07/19/2019 - 01:27

if i had such opportunity i would go to America in my next holidays specially in new york city because i want to see statue of liberty,i want to have lunch in vikas khanna's restaurant junoon,walk around times square,i want to see all the tourist places in new york city,make friends,i will stays at trump tower hotel,i want to live the luxurious lifestyle of america.
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Submitted by empty on Wed, 04/24/2019 - 08:52

maybe i'd go to Germany because i can speak german

Submitted by Karloos on Thu, 02/21/2019 - 22:33

Good

Submitted by R_Igla on Thu, 02/21/2019 - 22:32

This activity I like because i review the viewed in class

Submitted by Jux on Thu, 02/21/2019 - 22:19

I would like to visit all the country of mexico, the magic towns

Submitted by Ruiz98 on Thu, 02/21/2019 - 22:17

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.
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