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Grammatik auf Englisch - Besonders Bedingungen: If-Sätze

Schlagwörter: Grammatik auf Englisch, Englisch Grammatik, Englische Grammatik, Englisch Grammar, Gramatik auf Englisch, Englisch Gramatik, Englische Gramatik, Englisch Grammar, Besonders Bedingungen: If-Sätze

The use of conditionals in English can be tricky because the verb tenses sound so similar, so it’s good that the rules are quite regular. Learn the rules and practise the situations, and your business English will become much more fluent.

Conditional 0
Conditional 0 is used to express situations that are always true if something happens. There is a feeling in these statements of “always true whenever the condition is fulfilled”:

When I make a mistake, my manager is always understanding and helpful.

I never worry when I am called into the Vice President’s office unexpectedly.


In Conditional 0, the present simple tense is used in both clauses of the sentence.

Patterns:
If/when ( condition ), ( result )
( result ) if/when ( condition )
Note that if you place the result in the first position, a comma is not used between the first and second clause.
If your statement has the feeling of “whenever this then that”, you need the Conditional 0 tense.

Conditional 1
Conditional 1 is used to express situations that are real or possible or probable. The feeling is of a statement that will or will probably happen if the condition is fulfilled:

If I wake up sick tomorrow, I will cancel my flight.
If I get a rise this year, I will buy a new car.


You can also use unless in Conditional 1 to express the feeling of “if not”:

Unless I get a rise this year, I will not buy a new car.
Unless she completes the report by the end of the week, we will not be able to make a final decision on time.


Compare the last sentence to this next one, which has the same meaning:

If she doesn’t complete the report by the end of the week, we will not be able to make a final decision on time.

In Conditional 1, the present simple tense is used in the conditional clause and “will + verb” is used in the result clause.

Patterns:
If/when ( condition ), ( result )
( result ) if ( condition

Conditional 2
Here is where things get tricky. Conditional 2 is used to express an unreal, imaginary or impossible result for a condition. There is a feeling of “if the condition is fulfilled, this will happen, but the condition is very unlikely or will not be fulfilled”:

If I worked harder, I would probably be promoted sooner.
If I were the CEO, I would order the acquisition of our largest competitor and then take their products off the market.

We would purchase smartphones for all of our employees if we had more money in the IT budget.


In Conditional 2, the past simple tense is used in the conditional clause and “would + verb” is used in the result clause.

Patterns:
If/when ( condition ), ( result )
( result ) if ( condition )


Important!
In the conditional mood, the verb to be is always conjugated as were, regardless of person:
If I were - If we were
If you were - If you were
If he/she/it were - If they were

Conditional 3
Conditional 3 has the same feeling of Conditional 2, but places both the condition and the result in the past. The feeling is one of a hypothetical situation that would have come true if a condition had been met, but was not:

If Jonathan had known he was going to be downsized, he would never have signed that expensive contract with the neighbourhood fitness centre.

Stuart would have been selected to head the exploratory committee if his attendance at the initial planning meetings had been more consistent.


In Conditional 3, the past perfect tense is used in the conditional clause and “would have + past participle” is used in the result clause.

Patterns:
If/when ( condition ), ( result )
( result ) if ( condition )

Review
The best way to get a feeling for the various conditionals is to look at them together and learn to sense the feeling each conditional expresses:

0: Statements that are always true
Simple present, simple present

My hair stands on end whenever my phone rings.
If I eat too many dairy products, I get sick.


1: Cause and effect statements with certainty or near-certainty
Simple present, will + verb

If Sarah starts getting on my nerves, I will ask her to leave.

Unless she responds to my email by the end of the day, we’ll proceed without her.


2: Cause and effect that will not or is unlikely to come true (unreal)
Past simple, would + verb

If we completed the project tomorrow, we would be praised to the high heavens.
If Jason were more ambitious, he would earn more.


3: Cause and effect in the past that did not come true
(unreal past)
Past perfect, would have + verb

If I had known you were going to call in sick, I would have made other plans.
We would certainly have decided otherwise had you sounded more confident
about your proposal.


Schlagwörter: Grammatik auf Englisch, Englisch Grammatik, Englische Grammatik, Englisch Grammar, Gramatik auf Englisch, Englisch Gramatik, Englische Gramatik, Englisch Grammar, Besonders Bedingungen: If-Sätze

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