Conditional sentences exercises will help you learn how to construct these interesting sentence patterns.
In English, conditional sentences allow you to name “if” statements. They use verb tenses to show whether or not the conditional statement is possible and the overall intent of the sentence.
Conditional sentences express that the action of the sentence’s main clause, usually the second half of the sentence, only takes place if the action of the if clause happens.
There are four basic conditional sentence types, which are:
- First conditional: Things that can happen right now or in the future.
- Second conditional: Things that are impossible either in the present or future because the if clause cannot happen.
- Third conditional: Things in the past that did not happen but show the result if they had happened.
- Zero conditional: This shows present conditions that are always going to happen.
Many idioms are examples of conditionals. For instance:
- If it had been a snake, it would have bitten you. (third conditional)
- If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. (zero conditional)
- If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. (zero conditional)
The key to using conditionals well is learning how to make them and when to apply them. The best way to do this is with some English grammar practice. Here are some conditional sentences exercises that can help you get that important practice.
1. Make the First Conditional
The first conditional construction follows the pattern of:
- If + present simple verb, will + infinitive.
This order can get flipped with the will+ infinitive part first, but the verb tenses must be these two.
Here is an example of a conditional sentence containing the first conditional:
- If it rains, we will go to the museum instead of hiking.
The first conditional talks about things that are possible either right now or in the future. These are things that may happen or could happen, but only if the condition is met.
It could rain, so the if clause could happen. Thus, going to the museum instead of hiking could also happen.
Here are some sentences you can use to make the first conditional:
- If I _____________ (go) out tonight, I _____________ (go) to my favorite pizza place.
- If she ______________ (study), she _____________ (do) well on the exam.
- If he ___________ (put), he ____________ (be) a star quarterback.
- He _______________ (be) on time if he _____________ (get) up by 7 a.m.
Here are the correct answers to these grammar exercises:
- If I go out tonight, I will go to my favorite pizza place.
- If she studies, she’ll do well on the exam.
- If he puts in the work, he will be a star quarterback.
- He will be on time if he gets up by 7 a.m.
2. Make the Second Conditional
To make the second condition, you will use this construction:
- If + simple past tense verb, would + infinitive.
The second conditional has two potential uses. First, you can use this construction to talk about things in the future that are probably not going to happen, such as dreams that are unlikely to come true. Here are some examples:
- If I became a millionaire, I would donate much of my income to charity.
- If she chose to study, she would pass her college courses.
This structure can also be used for something in the present, which is impossible simply because it is untrue. Here are some example sentences:
- If I had some cash, I would pay for dinner.
- If I were a mother, I would understand her momma bear tendencies.
Here are some examples for you to try that use this structure:
- If I ____________ (be) you, I__________ (go) on the trip.
- If we ____________ (not + be), I ___________ (be) very upset right now.
- If I _________ (know), I _________ (be) there too.
- If they _________ (have) the money, they _______________ (send) their child to an Ivy League college.
Here are the correct answers to these examples:
- If I were you, I would go on the trip.
- If we weren’t friends, I would be very upset right now.
- If I had known about the concert, I would be there too.
- If they had the money, they would send their child to an Ivy League school.
3. Make the Third Conditional
The third conditional uses the following structure:
- If + past perfect, would + have + past participle
This structure talks about things in the past that did not happen and then explains the result you would anticipate if the event had occurred. Here are some example sentences:
- If they had taken the time to learn the material, they would not have failed the test.
- If he had left 10 minutes earlier, he would have been on time for the interview.
- She would not have been so tired if she had gone to bed on time.
Here are some sentences for you to practice this structure:
- If you ___________ (not and be) late this morning, we _______________ (not and miss) our ride.
- If the toddler ________ (go) to bed on time, he _________ (be) happier today.
- If you _______ (take) the first jo offer, you ________ (not receive) the better one.
- She __________ (not and be) angry if you __________ (spoke) to her before making the decision.
Here are the correct answers to these sentences:
- If you had not been late this morning, we would not have missed our ride.
- If the toddler had gone to bed on time, he would have been happier today.
- If you had taken the first job offer, you would not have received the better one.
- She would not have been angry if you had spoken to her before making the decision.
4. Make the Zero Conditional
The final conditional is the zero conditional. This conditional uses the following structure:
- If + present simple verb, present simple.
You will use this conditional with things that will always happen. For example, if water reaches 0 degrees Celcius, it always freezes. This is a scientific fact, making the zero conditional the correct form. You will know that you can use this form when the “if” in the if clause could be replaced by “when.”
Here are some examples:
- If someone eats too many calories, they get fat.
- If a person stays outside in the freezing weather too long without protective clothing, they get frostbite.
- If you end a sentence with a preposition, some teachers mark it wrong.
This is one of the simpler conditionals because both verbs are in the same tense. Even irregular verbs are less tricky because most people can recognize these verbs’ simple present tense forms.
Here is some grammar practice using zero conditional:
- If you _________ (wake up) late, you _______ (miss) the bus.
- If my sister __________ (does) laundry, she ________ (mixes) the colors incorrectly.
- If you _________ (use) passive voice in your writing, you _______ (create) weak sentences.
- You __________ (make) enemies if you _____________ (put) your needs before the needs of your friends.
Here are the correct answers to these conditional exercises:
- If you wake up late, you miss the bus.
- If my sister does laundry, she mixes the colors incorrectly.
- If you use passive voice in your writing, you create weak sentences.
- You make enemies if you put your needs before the needs of your friends.
If you are interested in learning more, check out our round-up of the best sentence checker software!