First conditional (if)


The first conditional structure is used to talk about possibility in the future - something which will or will not happen in the future depending on certain conditions being met.

"If they win the match,   I will buy them dinner."  
If this happens ...   ... this will happen.  
If this doesn't happen ...   ... this will not happen.

"If you study hard,   you will pass the exam."  

"If she sings well,   she will win the competition."  


A first conditional sentence contains two clauses: the "if" clause and the main clause.

To make the "if" clause, we use:
"if" + present tense.

To make the main clause, we use:
future tense.

The "if" clause can be used first or second. The meaning is exactly the same:
When the "if" clause is used first there is a comma between the clauses.

We can use "when" in place of "if":
For example:


Complete the sentences with the correct form of the verb in brackets.
If we visit grandma, she    us presents. (give)

We    late for work if the car doesn’t start. (be)

When I    home tonight, will you be there? (arrive)

The dog will bark if anyone    to the house. (come)


Further practice

Complete the sentences with the correct answer from a, b, c or d:
When you finish the report, I ____ it.


She won't take the job if the pay ____ bad.


If it rains, ____ at home?


When the flowers ____, they'll be beautiful.


He ____ to the meeting if the weather is bad.


If she ____ the report today, she will start the next project.


Intermediate level language point

We can use "unless" in place of "if".

"Unless" means "except if" or "if + not".

The following two sentences have the same meaning:

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