Sunday, 22 June 2008

If You Don't Know Me By Now...(First Conditional)

In the 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' the characters often talk about the 'interconnectedness' of everything. If a butterfly flaps its tiny wings in Asia today there will be a hurricane tomorrow in the West.

Things are connected...
if I miss my train tomorrow, I will be late for work... and if I am late for work, the boss will shout at me...

Ok, before we go on just think for a moment how you would say that in your language...think about the verbs and which form and which tense you use..

It's like one domino knocking down the next one...and so on...isn't it? Ok, so in these sentences there is a condition...and it comes in the "if" part of the sentence ('if' clause):

If I miss my train, I will be late for work..

If I catch my train, I will be on time...

If you read English is Easy, you will learn English...

Life is full of situations like this and I bet you make these kind of sentences lots of times every day. Because there is a conditon in the 'if' clause, these sentences are called
conditional sentences.

In this case the
First Conditional (there are second and third conditionals and even a general conditional - but we will worry about them later).

Right, how do you make a First Conditional in English?

You just need a simple present in the 'if' clause and a simple future in the other part (the main clause).

If it rains (simple present) at the weekend, I will stay (simple future) at home

It can be negative too:

If it doesn't rain (simple present negative) on Saturday, we will go out (simple future) for the day.

They can also be the other way round when the 'if'' clause comes second:

I will throw my PC out of the window, if it doesn't stop crashing...

Listen out for this grammar in comes quite often:

...if you don't know me by now, then you will never ever know me...

If you have an English teacher, maybe he or she will sing it for you!!

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