Modals in conditional sentences

August 1, 2013pdf

In first conditional sentences, we use a simple present tense in the if-clause and will + infinitive in the main clause. This is the standard form. Alternate forms with other auxiliaries are also possible. Note that first conditional forms with modals express ideas such as permission, advice, future possibilities etc.

Read the sentences given below.

  • If you finish your homework, you can watch TV.
  • If you have a few hours to spare, you may visit the museum.
  • If I have time, I might make a cake.
  • If I arrive early, I might take a stroll around the park.
  • If you don’t feel well, you should consult a doctor.

If and Adjectives

In a formal style, subject + be is sometimes left out after if.

  • If in doubt, ask for help. (= If you are in doubt, ask for help.)
  • If interested, please let me know. (= If you are interested, please let me know.)

Provided (that), As long as

Many words and expressions can be used with a similar meaning to if. Common examples are: imagine (that), suppose (that), supposing (that), providing (that), provided (that), as long as, on condition that etc.

The words imagine, suppose and supposing are used to talk about what might happen.

  • Supposing you lost your job, what would you do?
  • Imagine you won a jackpot!

Provided that, as long as and on condition that are used to make conditions.

  • You may take two days off on condition that you work on the weekend.
  • You can stay with us as long as you share the expenses.
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