Conditional sentences tenses

- Conditional phrases can be used in past, present, and future; however, they more importantly break down into two categories: real and unreal. As the names suggest, the real conditional describes real situations, while the unreal conditional describes imaginary situations.

- Conditional sentences are always composed of two clauses. The conditional clause (that begins with "if") shouldn’t contain "would" or "will."

If + conditional clause tense, + main clause

- This chart maps out the different conditional phrases possible, including their purpose, structure, and examples.

Past real conditional Past unreal conditional
This expresses past real-life situations. It implies a change in habits.

[If +simple past, +simple past]
If I had time, I ran.
This describes an unreal past condition and the probable past consequence.

[If + past perfect, +perfect conditional]
If I had had time, I would have run.
Present real conditional Present unreal conditional
This is also called the zero conditional. It is used to describe general knowledge.

[If + simple present, + simple present]
If I have time, I run.
This is used to describe what you would generally do in an imaginary situation.

[If + simple past, + would + infinitive]
If I had time, I would run.
Future real conditional Future unreal conditional
This type refers to a real present or future situation.

[If + simple present, + simple future]
If I have time, I will run.
This refers to an imaginary future situation.

[If + simple past, + would + infinitive]
If I had time, I would run.