Grammar can be tricky to teach especially when you are dealing with conditional sentences. But have you ever wondered why we need conditionals and why you need to teach them to your students? Well, in simple sentences conditional sentences are "if this happens, then happens." There can be a variety of situations depending on what we are talking about and whether the situation is real, factual, or something completely impossible.
Conditionals are the structures determining these situations. To enlighten you more, tune in and learn everything about these structures to be able to explain them better to your students.
What Are Conditionals?
Conditional statements are sentences discussing hypothetical situations or known factors and their consequences. Each complete conditional sentences contain a conditional clause otherwise referred to as the if clause and its consequences.
For example, “One day I will pass the bar exam if I work hard!”
As is readily apparent that the above sentence is divided into two parts: the main clause or the result, and the if clause or the condition. Sometimes they do function with a comma which it would mean that the main clause is the condition and the if clause is the result.
Confused? Worry not as we are going to explain everything from the basics.
The Type Of Conditionals And How To Use Them?
Conditional statements are normally of 4 types. Each type expresses a different degree of probability that a certain situation would have happened or will happen under certain circumstances.
Here are the four different types, and let us look at each one of them in more detail.
1. Zero Conditional
These type of sentences expresses the situations where one thing is bound to be caused by the other. In layman's terms, these sentences express general truths and when you use them, you are generally talking about the true situation rather than an instance of something. Moreover, when you are expressing zero conditional, it is essential to keep both clauses in the simple present tense. Here are some examples:
"You get obese, if you don’t exercise."
"When you smoke cigarettes, your health suffers."
2. First Conditional
These types of sentences are used to express situations where the outcomes are likely to happen in the future but are not guaranteed. In these sentences, the main clause is in the simple future tense, while the if clause is in the simple present tense to describe that the outcome is likely to happen. Here are some examples:
"You will feel better if you rest."
"Sally will get wet if she stays out in the rain."
3. Second Conditional
These sentences express outcomes that are super unrealistic and are sure not to happen in the future. The correct way to structure these sentences is to use simple present tense in the if clause and the main clause should have an auxiliary modal verb like should, could, might, would, etc. here are some examples:
"I would go on a world tour, if I inherited a billion dollars."
4. Third Conditional
These sentences generally express that the present circumstances would be different if the situations in the past differed. They express a condition that was likely to happen but did not happen in the past. The sentences often express regret and while using the third conditional the if clause will be past perfect tense and there would be an auxiliary verb along with a past particle in the main clause. Here are some examples:
"I would have left earlier if you had told me you needed a ride."
"I could have gone to the movies if I had cleaned my house earlier."
The Bottom Line
Now that you have learned everything about conditionals, you are finally ready to teach your English class with confidence. However, if you need to further polish your teaching techniques and methodologies, consider pursuing a Certificate in Teaching with a specialization in Teaching English to Young Learners. This will enable you to learn the various tactics of teaching in a diversified classroom.
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