First Conditional

Intermediate

What is the first conditional?

  • We use the first conditional to talk about things that are likely to happen in the future:

    • If it snows, I will stay home.

    • If she goes to the party, I will ask her to dance

    • If I read the book, I will pass the test.

How do we use the first conditional?

  • We use the first conditional for situations that are possible or likely to happen in the future. We don’t use it for situations that aren’t likely to happen; we use the second conditional for this. (If I won the lottery, I would buy a car.)

  • We can construct a sentence using the following structure:

    • “If” + subject + simple present + subject + “will” + base form verb

    • If Mary goes to school tomorrow, she will take the test.

    • If it starts to rain, I will bring my umbrella.

  • We can also make the statement negative:

    • If Mary doesn’t go to school tomorrow, she won’t take the test.

    • If it doesn’t start to rain, I won’t bring my umbrella.

  • We can also flip the sentence around to put the outcome first:

    • Mary won’t take the test if she doesn’t go to school tomorrow.

    • I will bring my umbrella if it starts to rain.

  • Lastly, we can form questions which prompt a first conditional answer:

    • What will you do if it starts to rain?

    • What will Mary do if she doesn’t go to school tomorrow?

Activity

I. Fill in the blank with the proper form of the verb:

  • If I ________ (go) to the movies tonight, I_______ (call) you.

  • If she_________ (marry) him, she ________ (be) rich.

  • If we _________ (leave) now, we _________ (not/miss) the bus.

  • We ___________ (not/eat) if she __________ (arrive) late.

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