# 4.8: Conditional/Hypothetical Clauses


Conditional / Hypothetical Sentences

All conditional / hypothetical sentences consist of a dependent clause beginning with if (or other adverbials of condition) and an independent clause which is a result of the condition or hypothesis. A conditional sentence is one that is real or possibly can happen; a hypothetical sentence is one that is only imaginary - it either will not happen or did not happen.

Class One: Conditional

A.  Present or future situation: True and Real or Possible

Form:

If + present tense verb,     will or future implied verb (can, might, want, need, etc.)

Examples:

If my sister visits Seattle, I will take her to Mount Rainier.

If we go there, I want to take a picnic lunch.

B.  General Truth situations, not for a specific time, something is always true and never changes.  It is True and Real or Possible

Form:

If + present tense verb,     present tense verb

Examples:

If plants have good soil and get enough sunlight and water, they always grow well.

If a car runs out of gas, it stops.

C.  Past Situations: True and Completed Actions in the Past

Form:

If + past tense,   past tense

Examples:

If my father caught fish, he was happy.

If my grandmother cooked dinner when I was a boy, I always ate a lot.

D.  Alternate Form for the Present and Future Situations: Should

We can use should in Class One conditional sentences in the present and future when we are not sure of the condition. Only if the condition happens will the result happen. It gives a feeling of uncertainty (not sure of something).

Examples:

If you should get stopped by a policeman, you must have your driver's license with you or you will get a ticket.
Should you get stopped by a policeman, you must have your driver's license with you or you will get a ticket.

Please note that the Class 3, Class 4, and Class 5 conditional/hypothetical  sentences and exercises will be part of the next book in this series (Book Five).

Exercise 43:  Use a class one conditional sentence to combine these sentences, please.  There are different ways to make these sentences.  Remember that if the IF Clause comes first in a sentence, then you MUST use a comma after the IF CLAUSE.

Example:

My son won’t go on a picnic with his friends.  It might rain today.
My son won’t go on a picnic with his friends if it rains today.

I will buy a new car.  I refuse to spend a lot of money on a car.
I will buy a new car if it doesn’t cost too much.

1.  I might fly back to Providence, R.I. this summer.  I have to find a cheap plane ticket.

2.  The student will come to class tomorrow.  She needs to get a ride from her friend.

3.  I might call my sister this evening.  I have to finish my homework early.

4.  My son eats breakfast.  He must have enough time to eat breakfast.

5.  The student is usually late to class.  When he arrives on time, other students are surprised.

6.  Students study in the library.  They need to use the services of the library.

7.  John will take ENG 102 next quarter.  He must pass ENG 101 this quarter.

8.  People are much happier.  The sun comes out in the summer.

9.  Students can study quietly in the library.  Library patrons are quiet in the library.

10.  My son goes to the piano room.  He wants to practice a piece of music.

11.  The woman gets angry very quickly.  People disagree with her.

12.  You can’t get out of jail.  A judge sentences you to jail.

44:  Complete the following sentences, please.

Example:

If I have a headache, …..
If I have a headache, I take three aspirins.

1.  I drink coffee in the afternoon, …..

2.  If it is not raining outside when I get home from work, …..

3.  I watch television if …..

4.  If I finish my homework early, …..

5.  My friend eats in the cafeteria if …..

6.  If I have free time, …..

7.  My dog barks if …..

8.  My back hurts if …..

9.  Children don’t go to school in the morning if …..

10.  If people need extra money, …..

11.  I take medicine if …..

12.  Students usually do their homework if …..

13.  If it is raining outside, …..

Exercise 45:  Complete the following sentences with a future meaning verb, please.

Example:

If I have homework this evening, …..
If I have homework this evening, I will do it until it is finished.

1.  If I pass the college’s entrance examination,

2.  If we have an examination next week,

3.  If I have to write a composition for next Monday,

4.  If my friend finishes her homework early,

5.  I will begin college classes next quarter,

6.  If we see each other at the market,

7.  If my friend wins the lottery,

8.  If there is something good on TV tonight,

9.  If I am sick tomorrow morning,

10.  If the gas tank on my car reads close to empty,

11.  If students study grammar,

12.  If some visitors come to Seattle for a visit this summer,

13.  If my friend calls me this weekend,

Exercise 46:  Use a class one conditional sentence in the past situations that were real and did happen, please.

Examples:  If I ate too much candy when I was a boy, I threw up.

If I had to go shopping with my sister and my mother when I was a boy, I wanted to go home right away.

1.  If it snowed a lot, my brother, sister, and I ------------------ (go) sledding.

2.  If the weather was nice after school, I ------------------- (walk) home from school.

3.  If there was a cowboy movie on television, I always ------------------ (watch) it.

4.  If my father took my mother shopping, I -------------------- (stay) in the car with him.

5.  If I got good grades on my report card at school, my parents ------------------- (be) very happy.

6.  If my sister cried when she was a little girl, my father -------------------- (comfort) her.

7.  If we took our lunches to school, we -------------------- (not have to) buy lunch.

8.  If we watched scary movies on TV, we -------------------- (have) a hard time falling asleep.

9.  If it was a holiday, our grandfather always -------------------- (give) us some old coins.

10.  If children were bad in school when I was a boy, teachers -------------------- (hit) them without worrying.

11.  If I bought candy with five cents as a boy, I always -------------------- (get) at least five pieces of candy.

12.  If a student fell asleep in class, the teacher ------------------- (slap) the back of his head to wake him up.

13.  If it was a major holiday, my grandmother and mother ------------------- (cook) both Italian food and American food.

14.  If one of my dogs slept in bed with me, my mother ------------------- (yell) at me and the dog.

15.  If my father had a day off from work, we -------------------- (be) very happy.

16.  If my Uncle Carl took me to a baseball game, I -------------------- (eat) a lot of junk food.

17.  If I caught big fish when I went fishing, I always --------------------- (bring) the fish home to eat for dinner.

Exercise 47:  In a class one conditional, change the IF clause to a SHOULD clause, please.

Example:

If I see you in class next Friday, I will be happy.

Should I see you in class next Friday, I will be happy

1. If you win the lottery, you will become very rich.

2.  If it rains next Friday, you will get wet.

3.  If I catch a cold, I might have a runny nose.

4.  If my car breaks down on my way home, I will call Triple A (AAA) for help.

5.  If my son gets a better job, he will make more money.

6.  If my wife plans a barbecue for dinner this Saturday, I will have to do the cooking.

7.  If the Seattle Mariners ever win the World Series in baseball, I will die a happy man.

8.  If I go to Montreal, Canada, for a vacation, I will visit some of my relatives.

9.  If my son Alex comes home for a visit next year, I will be happy to see him again.

10.  If my son André buys a house, we will give him some furniture.

11.  If it rains hard tomorrow, I won’t be able to work in my garden.

12.  If my sister has enough money, she and her son and daughter-in-law will come to Seattle for a vacation next summer.

Class Two: Hypothetical

A.  Present or Future Situations - will not or are not very likely to occur- Not Real, Not Possible,

Only Imaginary

Form:

If + past tense verb,     would or could   + base form of verb

Examples:

If I had a million dollars, I would go on a long vacation.

If I played professional baseball, I could make a lot of money.

B.  Verb To Be: Were

In Class Two Conditionals, when you need to use the verb To Be, always use were after if. (This is called the subjunctive.)

Form:

If + subject + were,     would or could + base form of verb.

Examples:

If I were a bird, I could fly.

If she were my daughter, I would love her like a father.

C.  Alternate Form for Present Hypothetical Situations: Were

Were may be used in place of if to form the Class Two Conditionals; however, this is usually only done in very formal situations.

Form:

Were + noun,     would or could + verb stem

or

Were + subject + infinitive,     would or could + verb stem

Examples:

If you were an American, you would not take ESL classes.
Were you an American, you would not take ESL classes.

If I were a woman, I could have a baby.
Were I a woman, I could have a baby.

If I bought a new car, my wife would be happy.
Were I to buy a new car, my wife would be happy.

If I went to Russia, I would visit Moscow.
Were I to go to Russia, I would visit Moscow.

Exercise 48:  In this exercise, the hypothetical situation is in the present, but we use the past tense verbs to show that they are not real.  Complete the following sentences, please.

Example:

If my father were alive today, …..
If my father were alive today, he would be very proud of his grandchildren.

If I had a new car, …..
If I had a new car, I would not use it as a truck as I now do with my old car.

1.  If I had a million dollars,

2.  If today were Saturday,

3.  If I had more free time in my life,

4.  If it snowed in June,

5.  If you spoke English as well as I do,

6.  If I found $1,000 on the street in a paper bag, 7. If I were a professional athlete, 8. If you still lived in your native country, 9. If I could go anywhere I wanted to on vacation, 10. If someone put a gun to my head and demanded all of my money, 11. If you didn’t go to school, 12. If you were younger, Exercise 49: Complete the following sentences, please. 1. I would learn to play the guitar if 2. If I had a lot of money, 3. My friend would speak better English if 4. If I wrote better, 5. I would be happier in life if 6. Some children would do much better in school if 7. I would get in trouble if 8. If the electricity went out right now 9. People would be healthier if 10. If America didn’t spend so much money on wars around the world, 11. My life would be much better if 12. If my sister didn’t smoke cigarettes, 13. I would go to the doctor if 14. I could buy anything I wanted to if 15. If I were president of the United States, Exercise 50: Change the following class two conditional sentences by using WERE to begin the condition, please. Example: If I saw a ghost, I would be very scared. Were I to see a ghost, I would be very scared. If my mother were alive, she would love to listen to my son’s music. Were my mother alive, she would love to listen to my son’s music. 1. If you were my child, you would speak perfect English. 2. If I were an airplane pilot, I would fly planes every day. 3. If my wife were sitting here, she might learn more English grammar. 4. If today were Sunday, you wouldn’t be in my class. 5. If I were sick now, I wouldn’t be to class. 6. If I had a lot of hair, I wouldn’t were a hat. 7. If my son ate three hamburgers, his stomach would hurt him. 8. If I lost$1,000 gambling, my wife would kill me.

9.  If I wore dirty shoes in the house, she would kill me again.

10.  If I got a DWI, my wife would kill me a third time.

11.  If I were to shave my beard, my students might not recognize me.

12.  If I had more space, I would write more sentences.

4.8: Conditional/Hypothetical Clauses is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Don Bissonnette.