Conditionals .....

Looking to
the FUTURE
Conditional 1
for things which are
almost SURE to happen
if the condition is met
  • If you drop that vase it will break.
  • If you just do your best I will be happy.
  • If it rains this afternoon we'll stay in.
Conditional 2
for things which are
very unlikely to happen
  • If I met an alien in the woods I'd invite him home for a cup of tea. (I would)
  • If I won the lottery I'd buy my Mum and Dad a new house.

Looking to
the PAST
Conditional 3
to talk about things
that DIDN'T happen
  • If I had worked harder I would have got a better grade. (but I didn't work hard)
  • If you had asked me for help I would have helped you! (but you didn't ask)

Sometimes we can use EITHER Conditional 1 or Conditional 2 in the same situation to express a different idea:

  • If you leave me I will be sad. (There's a good chance you will leave me.)
  • If you left me I would be sad. (I really don't think it is probable that you will leave me, but it could happen.)