If Clause: Know Conditionals Meaning, Types & Usage

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The If clause also known as conditional sentences is used to express a situation or condition and the result that will be achieved. They are made up of two clauses: conditional clauses and main clauses. Conditional clauses are a type of subordinate clauses that cannot stand alone in a sentence. In English vocabulary, they often begin with ‘if’ or ‘unless’. To learn more about ‘if clauses’ then continue reading this blog which will tell you about their meaning, how to use it in sentences and much more. 

What are If Clauses? – Definition

‘If’ clauses also known as conditional clauses are a type of grammatical structure that is used to express conditions and their potential consequences. These clauses typically consist of two parts: the conditional and the main clause. For examples – 

if clause example

Also Read: What are Clauses: Definition, Types, Examples, & Exercise

What is a Conditional Sentence?

Conditional sentences have two parts or clauses that give a condition in the dependent clause and a result in the independent clause. The conditional usually contains an if clause. Other than this, several different forms of conditional sentences allow the writer to express several meanings with the help of other tenses. 

If Clause in Conditional Sentences

Conditional sentences are of four different types in the English language. Below are the types of conditional clauses and how they can be used in sentences:

If Clause – Zero Conditional

This type of clause/conditional is used to express general truths or facts that are always true. Here are some examples of zero conditional sentences with the usage of an if clause.

  • If you heat ice, it melts.
  • If it rains, the streets get wet.
  • If you mix red and yellow, you get orange.
  • If you don’t water plants, they die.

First Conditional 

In this conditional, it is used to talk about real life and probable situations that are possible in the present and future with the help of the ‘if clause’. Check out some examples to get a better idea:

  • If it rains tomorrow, I will bring an umbrella.
  • If she studies hard, she will pass the exam.
  • If you eat too much, you will feel sick.
  • If they arrive late, we will start without them.

If Clause – Second Conditional 

This clause is used to talk about unreal or unlikely situations in the present or future. Check out some examples of second conditional.

  • If I won the lottery, I would travel around the world.
  • If I were you, I would study harder for the exam.
  • If it rains tomorrow, we will cancel the picnic.
  • If I had more time, I would learn a new language.

Third Conditional 

This is used to talk about unreal or improbable situations that might have happened in the past using the ‘if clause’. Here are some examples of the same:

  • If I had studied harder, I would have passed the exam.
  • If she had arrived on time, she would have caught the train.
  • If it hadn’t been raining, we would have gone for a picnic.
  • If they had invited me, I would have attended the party.

Mixed Conditional 

This conditional, using ‘if clause’ combines elements of the second and third conditionals, often to express hypothetical situations with effects in the past and present.

  • If I had studied harder, I would have passed the exam.
  • If she had told me earlier, I would have helped her.
  • If they had arrived on time, they would have caught the train.
  • If we had known about the traffic, we would have taken a different route.

How to Use If Clauses in Conditional Sentences?

Conditional sentences are used to talk about a hypothetical situation and the possible consequences of this scenario. All conditional sentences contain two clauses, these include:

  • A subordinate clause that describes an unreal condition. (eg: If you train more)
  • A main clause that indicates the result of this hypothetical scenario (eg: You will become a better painter)

Keep in mind, that the subordinate clause of a conditional sentence usually begins with the conjunction ‘if’.

How to Form Conditional Sentences?

To form conditional sentences, here is the formula that you should use at the time of constructing sentences:

Structure: Condition (if) clause + result clause

  • If you ate healthier food, then you would have more energy. 
  • You would have more energy if you ate healthier food. 
  • If Tom had called earlier, he might have gotten an appointment.
  • Tom might have gotten an appointment if he had called earlier. 
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What are the three ‘if clauses’?

The three ‘if clauses’ are: Zero conditional, first conditional, and second conditional. 

What is the ‘if clause’ rule?

The ‘if clause’ tells you the condition while the main clause tells you the result. 

What type of clause is an ‘if clause’?

The ‘if clause’ comes under the conditional clause. 

We hope this blog has provided you with all the necessary information on if clauses. To advance your grammar knowledge and read more informative blogs, check out our Learn English page and don’t forget to follow Leverage Edu.

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