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19. Conditionals 1


1 Introduction

Vicky and Rachel are talking about possible future actions.
They may catch the bus, or they may miss it.

2 First Conditional: If we hurry, we'll catch the bus

The verb in the if-clause (e.g. hurry) is in the Present Simple, not the future.
NOT If we'll hurry, we'll catch the bus.
But we can use will in the if-clause when we make a request.
If you'll just wait a moment, I'll find someone to help you. (= Please wait a moment ... )

We can use the Present Continuous (e.g. are doing) or the Present Perfect (e.g. have done) in the if-clause.
If we're expecting visitors, the flat will need a good clean.
If you've finished with the computer, I'll put it away.

The main clause often has will. But we can use other modal verbs (e.g. can).
If you haven't got a television, you can't watch it, can you?
If Henry jogs regularly, he might lose weight.
If Matthew is going to a job interview, he should wear a tie.

The if-clause usually comes first, but it can come after the main clause.
If I hear any news, I'll phone you'/I'll phone you if I hear any news.

3 More uses of the First Conditional

We can use First Conditionals in offers and suggestions.
If you need a ticket, I can get you one.
If you feel like seeing the sights, we can take a bus tour.

We can also use them in warnings and threats.
If you go on like this, you'll make yourself ill.
If you don't apologize, I'll never speak to you again.

4 If you heat water, it boils

We sometimes use the Present Simple in both clauses.
If you heat water, it boils.
If Daniel has any money, he spends it.
If you press this switch, the computer comes on.
This means that one thing always follows automatically from another. Pressing the switch always results in the computer coming on.

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