Zero and first conditionals

دوره: گرامر انگلیسی در شش دقیقه / اپیزود 35

گرامر انگلیسی در شش دقیقه

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Zero and first conditionals

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Neil and Catherine take a look at the zero and first conditionals. Learn how to make them and when to use them, listen to some example sentences and test what youve learnt in the quiz at the end of the programme.

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Neil Hello. Welcome to 6 Minute Grammar with me, Neil.

Catherine
And me, Catherine. Hello.

Neil
Now, Catherine, would you like to have some of this delicious chocolate I’ve got here?

Catherine
Oh Neil, I’d love to but I can’t. When I eat chocolate, I get terrible headaches.

Neil
Oh that’s bad luck! If I eat a lot of chocolate, I just get fat!

Catherine
Do you? You don’t look it, you look thin!

Neil
It’s all the cycling you see. I can eat whatever I want because of all the cycling.

Catherine Lucky you.

Neil Now, in this programme, we’re looking at the zero conditional and the first conditional.

Catherine
We’ll be discussing why and when we use them.

Neil We’ll see how to form them…

Catherine
We’ll help you decide which one to use in which situation…

Neil
And we’ll bring you a quiz at the end of the show.

Catherine So listen carefully - and take some notes!

Neil
Let’s start by looking at the zero conditional. We use it to talk about things which always happen in particular situations.

Catherine
For example, I always get a headache if I eat chocolate. We also use the zero conditional to talk about facts and truths. And here’s Finn with our first example.

Finn
If you drop an apple, it falls to the ground.

Neil
That’s gravity for you! Now, there are two parts to the sentence. The part with if plus the present simple tells us the situation, and the other part is in the present simple tense, and tells us what happens as a result of the if situation. Here’s Finn with an example of the if situation:

Finn
If you drop an apple …

And I’ll say that again: If you drop an apple …

Catherine
And the result:

Finn
… it falls to the ground.

Catherine Once more:

Finn
… it falls to the ground.

Neil
And this result happens every time the situation happens. Isn’t that right, Catherine?

Catherine
That’s correct Neil. It’s a scientific fact - and it was first identified by Isaac Newton, I believe.

Neil
I think you’re right! So that’s the zero conditional. Let’s compare it with an example of the first conditional. Finn.

Finn
If you drop that glass, it’ll break.

Catherine And once again:

Finn
If you drop that glass, it’ll break.

Catherine
Now, in this sentence the if plus present simple part gives us a possible future situation. The other part is made with will plus an infinitive without ‘to’ and it gives us the result of this possible future situation.

Finn
If you drop that glass …

If you drop that glass …

Catherine
And this is only a possible situation.

Finn
… it’ll break.

… it’ll break.

Catherine
And this is the result of the situation. We use will to show we are certain that the glass will break. But it only breaks if we drop the glass.

Neil
When we are less certain of the result we can use might , like this:

Finn
If you drop the glass, it might break.

Catherine And once again:

Finn
If you drop the glass, it might break.

Neil
It’s sometimes difficult to choose between the zero and first conditional. It helps to remember that as well as using the zero conditional for truths, we also use it for general situations. If you’re talking about a specific situation, or a one-off situation, the first conditional is probably best. For example, to describe a general situation that is true for everyone, we can use the zero conditional to say:

Finn If you sit in the sun too long, you get burned.

Catherine But if your friend is about to go sunbathing, perhaps without any sun cream, you can use the first conditional to talk about that specific situation and its possible result, like this:

Finn If you sit in the sun too long, you will get burned.

IDENT
6 Minute Grammar from BBC Learning English.

Catherine
And it’s quiz time! Are these sentences grammatically correct, or wrong? Here’s the first one: When we’re older, we’ll go travelling.

Neil
OK, this first conditional sentence is correct.

Catherine
Good. Here’s another one: If plants don’t get water, they die.

Neil
This sentence is correct too.

Catherine
OK, get ready for the last sentence: If I fail my exams again, I feel terrible.

Neil
And that’s wrong. It’s a specific situation and it’s describing a possibility, not a certainty. So we need the first conditional. Here’s the correct sentence:

Finn
If I fail my exams again, I will feel terrible.

Catherine
Now, before we go, there’s just enough time for a top tip. The first conditional only has one ‘will’. So this sentence is wrong:

Finn
If they will leave now, they’ll be home for lunch.

Neil
You need to use present simple without will in the if part. Here’s the correct version:

Finn
If they leave now, they’ll be home for lunch.

Catherine
Thank you Finn. So that’s the zero conditional, with the present tense in both parts, for things which always happen.

Neil
And that’s the first conditional with if plus present simple, together with will , plus an infinitive, for possible future situations.

Catherine
There’s more about this on our website at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again for more 6 Minute Grammar.

Both
Bye.

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