English Review of Zero Conditionals

    Beginner+ English - Level A2


    This unit offers a review of zero conditionals for learners who have previously learned about this grammar in a previous English course.


    English-ZERO, FIRST - Conditionals

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    English A2

    Review of Zero Conditionals

    There are several conditional forms in English: zero, first, second, and third conditionals. This review of the zero conditional will clarify what it is, when and how it is used.

    The zero conditional is found in the present simple tense. It includes an "if" or "when" clause, followed or preceded by a main clause. The zero conditional is used to express scientific facts and generally accepted truths.

    If the air temperature drops below freezing, many types of plants die.
    You damage your eyes if you look directly at the sun.
    The air gets thinner when you go up in elevation.
    The zero conditional does not exist in other tenses or in the subjunctive mood.

    The grass might get wet if it rains.
    If I had wings, I could fly.

    In the above sentences, the verbs might and could offer a possibility, not a here-and-now, real situation. In the second example, it is clearly hypothetical (i.e. subjunctive mood), and in the first, it is speculation about a possibility. Even though the first example seems to be a real possibility, it is the speculative nature of the statement, as opposed to an accepted certainty (for example: The grass gets wet if it rains.).

    The final point regarding the zero conditional is its use in combination with the imperative mood (command form). When combining these two forms, there is an imperative statement in the main clause and an "if" or "when" clause using the conditional form.

    Call me if you want our extra ticket to the show.
    If you get too busy, let me know.
    Take a life jacket with you if you go water skiing.

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