Learn English Grammar: The First Conditional


Hi, guys. Welcome back to www.engvid.com.

Today we're going to be looking at the first conditional.

It's a really useful, little phrase to throw into your conversations. It's

quite simple as well, just using sort of simple presentation... Present tenses and simple

future tenses to... It's basically describing a decision that you might make. So, if this

happens, I will do that. So, it's kind of... It's a good one to learn, because it can give

you a bit more, sort of, freedom. You know, if someone asks you to do something, you can say:

"Well, yeah, maybe, mate, but if this happens, I'm going to do that."

Or in a business environment, it could work well as well.

So, first conditional. We're talking about a possible or a probable situation in the future.

Okay? So:

"You will speak better English if you watch all of my YouTube videos."

That comes with a guarantee. Okay? So, here, we have:

"you watch". What tense is that?

Present, yeah, simple present. Okay?

"If you watch", and then: "You will speak better".

"Will speak", that's in the future, isn't it? So, we've got our future, what's going to happen in

the future if you do this. If you do this... And so, it can work both way around, okay?

You could have the simple present, and then the simple future; or you could have the simple

future, and then the simple present. Here, we've got the future first: You will do this

if, in the present, you do this. Future, and then present; or present, and then future.

Okay, so let's look at this little example, here.

"Now", you guys... You're slackers.

You haven't watched all of my YouTube videos. What's going on? Where have you been? This

is the situation now. "You haven't watched all of them", and the future, well, it depends

on your actions right here, right now. Okay? So, now you haven't watched all of them, and

we've got a possible/probable situation in the future that, you know, you might speak

better English if you watch them. Right. "If" plus "simple present" plus "simple future",

plus our base verb, like: "run", "catch", "enjoy", "love", "smile". Yeah?

Another example. "If it rains", quite likely in London. "If it rains I will stay at home."

That's a bit boring. Obviously, "will"... Well, not obviously; you might not know. "Will",

you could also replace it with "shall" or "can" or "may".

"If it rains I shall stay at home." Very strong, decided. Yeah?

"If it rains I can stay at home." A bit weird.

Probably "can" is going to work better with another example, like:


If she pisses me off I can always listen to my Walkman." Okay?

Yeah? Or, replacing "will" with "may":

"If it rains I may put my anorak on." Okay? This is talking about a future thing.

This is your future bit, the "shall", "can", "may"; that's the future bit. Yeah? Great.

I've put up a little song, here. "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor. I won't trouble your ears

with me singing it, but let's have a little look at the song.

"Oh, no, not I, I will survive,

Oh as long as I know how to love I'll stay alive."

Let's look at this bit first:

"Oh, no, not I", okay so that's kind of... Just getting my...

She's not really saying anything there, so we'll kind of rub that bit off.

"I will survive",

that's obviously in the future, isn't it? "Oh as long as", there's not really anything there.

"I will survive, if", okay, so "as" is replacing "is", here.

If she knows how to love. And then she's kind of repeating herself, so we'll just go like that.

Okay? So, we've got the future bit and

then the present bit. "I will survive, if I know how to love." Yeah?


Let's have a look at the next bit: "I've got all my life to live",

yup, true.

"I've got all my love to give, and I'll survive."

Now, it is still actually the first conditional,

although she's missing the "if". She's being naughty, isn't she? There's no "if".

"I've got all my life to live", let's go like that. "I've got all my love to give",

so she's basically saying: "I will survive if I give my love." Okay?

I'm going to... You know, it's not quite spelt out there. "I will survive"-that's in the future-"if I give my love to you".

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