ENG2: (If + Present) + Present/ Zero Conditional

This unit is a continuation of the Conditional structures and explores the Type Zero conditional.

THE ZERO CONDITIONAL

The zero conditional is used for when the time being referred to is now or always and the situation is real and possible. The zero conditional is often used to refer to general truths. The tense in both parts of the sentence is the simple present. In zero conditional sentences, the word “if” can usually be replaced by the word “when” without changing the meaning.

Image result for zero conditional

If clause Main clause
If + simple present simple present
If this thing happens that thing happens.
If you heat ice it melts.
If it rains the grass gets wet.

In zero conditional sentences, the tense in both parts of the sentence is the simple present.

If clause (condition) Main clause (result)
If + simple present simple present
If this thing happens that thing happens.

As in all conditional sentences, the order of the clauses is not fixed. You may have to rearrange the pronouns and adjust punctuation when you change the order of the clauses, but the meaning is identical. In zero conditional sentences, you can replace “if” with “when”, because both express general truths. The meaning will be unchanged.

Related imageEXAMPLES
  • If you heat ice, it melts.
  • Ice melts if you heat it.
  • When you heat ice, it melts.
  • Ice melts when you heat it.
  • If it rains, the grass gets wet.
  • The grass gets wet if it rains.
  • When it rains, the grass gets wet.
  • The grass gets wet when it rains.

The zero conditional is used to make statements about the real world, and often refers to general truths, such as scientific facts. In these sentences, the time is now or always and the situation is real and possible.

 

EXAMPLES
  • If you freeze water, it becomes a solid.
  • Plants die if they don’t get enough water.
  • If my husband has a cold, I usually catch it.
  • If public transport is efficient, people stop using their cars.
  • If you mix red and blue, you get purple.

The zero conditional is also often used to give instructions, using the imperative in the main clause.

EXAMPLES
  • If Bill phones, tell him to meet me at the cinema.
  • Ask Pete if you’re not sure what to do.
  • If you want to come, call me before 5:00.
  • Meet me here if we get separated.

Zero conditional sentences express general truths—situations in which one thing always causes another. When you use a zero conditional, you’re talking about a general truth rather than a specific instance of something. Consider the following examples:Image result for zero conditional

If you don’t brush your teeth, you get cavities.
When people smoke cigarettes, their health suffers.

There are a couple of things to take note of in the above sentences in which the zero conditional is used. First, when using the zero conditional, the correct tense to use in both clauses is the simple present tense. A common mistake is to use the simple future tense.

When people smoke cigarettes, their health will suffer.

Secondly, notice that the words if and when can be used interchangeably in these zero conditional sentences. This is because the outcome will always be the same, so it doesn’t matter “if” or “when” it happens.

FORM

[If / When … simple present …, … simple present …]

[… simple present … if / when … simple present …]

USE

The present real conditional (also called conditional 0) is used to talk about what you normally do in real-life situations.

Related image

Examples:

  • If I go to a friend’s house for dinner, I usually take a bottle of wine or some flowers.
  • When I have a day off from work, I often go to the beach.
  • If the weather is nice, she walks to work.
  • Jerry helps me with my homework when he has time.
  • read if there is nothing on TV.
  • A: What do you do when it rains?
    B: I stay at home.
  • A: Where do you stay if you go to Sydney?
    B: I stay with my friends near the harbor.

NOTE:  If / When

Both “if” and “when” are used in the present real conditional. Using “if” suggests that something happens less frequently. Using “when” suggests that something happens regularly.

Examples:

  • When I have a day off from work, I usually go to the beach.
    I regularly have days off from work.
  • If I have a day off from work, I usually go to the beach.
    I rarely have days off from work.

ASSIGNMENT : ENG: Conditional Structures Assignment MARKS : 100  DURATION : 1 week, 3 days

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