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Welcome to the Grammar Gameshow! Test your knowledge in this crazy quiz! The presenter is a bit strange, the points don't make sense and the prizes could use some improvement, but at least the grammar is correct!

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Episode 10: The first conditional

This episode sees our brand-new contestants test themselves against the first conditional! It starts with if and talks about present and future consequences! Everyone knows that! But what else will they need to know? Are you a better grammarian than they are? Would you win, where they fail? Does Will have any more surprises planned? Find out in this episode of the Grammar Gameshow!

Watch the video and then test yourself below with our quiz

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Will
Hello, and welcome to today’s Grammar Gameshow! I’m your host, Will!  But I’m not followed by an infinitive, just feelings of regret! And of course, let’s not forget Leslie, our all-knowing voice in the sky.

Leslie
Hello everyone!

Will
Tonight, we’re going to ask you three questions about…

Leslie
The first conditional! The structure that says something can happen, only if something else happens first!

Will
OK! Now, let’s meet our contestants!

Sean
Hello, Will. My name is Sean!

Will
And contestant number two?

Levington
It’s nice to meet you. I’m Levington!

Will
Wonderful! Fresh meat! OK. Let’s get going and don’t forget you can play along at home too. Our first round is an odd one out round. Which of these statements about the first conditional is not true?

a)         The formula is: if + present simple + will + infinitive
b)         First conditionals are used for possible present or future consequences
c)         The ‘if’ clause can be at the beginning of the sentence or in the middle
d)         You can use the present simple, continuous or perfect tense in the ‘if’ clause

Will
OK! Sean…what are you thinking?

Sean
Well, I know that a) is correct because ‘if I am hungry, I will eat’, and I know that is correct. And I’m pretty sure that d) is correct. But I don’t know about the others.

Will
Good thinking! Levington, how about you?

Levington
Well, I’m confident that b) is true, because I remember reading that even though we use a present tense, it has a future meaning. For example, ‘if I stay the extra day, I will be late next week’. And I’m certain you can put ‘if’ in the middle…‘I will be late if I stay the extra day’. But I don’t know about the others.

Will
OK! Last chance! Anyone? No? OK. Leslie?

Leslie
They’re all correct. The formula is if + present tense + will + infinitive. First conditionals can refer to possible present or future consequences. The ‘if’ clause can go at the beginning of the sentence, or in the middle. And finally, it is possible to use the present simple, continuous or perfect tenses. For example: If I play football, I will be healthy. If I’m playing football, I will be sweaty and if I have played football, I will be tired. 

Will
Whoops! No points for you guys! You should know, if you’re on the Grammar Gameshow, you won’t be able to trust a word we say.OK, on to our next question. We’ve just said that the first conditional uses ‘if’ in the conditional clause and ‘will’ in the main clause. But is it also possible to use ‘will’ in the conditional clause?

Sean
Sorry! I pressed that by mistake. I’ve no idea!

Will
The answer is ‘No’. Trust me.

Sean
You just said we can’t trust a word you say!

Will
That was before!

Sean
OK. No, you cannot use ‘will’ in the conditional clause.

Will
Wrong I’m afraid. Totally and utterly wrong. How embarrassing. Levington?

Levington
We can!

Will
I’m going to need an example!

Levington
If Sean will keep trusting you, he won’t get any points.

Will
Nice! And topical. Great! Leslie?

Leslie
Well done! ‘will’ can be used in the conditional clause when a person is being insistent, or showing irritation at someone. Another example would be: if you will leave the windows open when you go out, you will get burgled!

Will
Levington? Ten points for you! OK. Last question. How can we make a first conditional more formal?

Sean
We have to replace ‘if’ with a word - either ‘should’ or ‘had’.

Will
You’ll have to choose, I’m afraid. I would choose ‘should’ if I were you. Trust me.

Sean
The answer is ‘had’.

Will
Leslie?

Leslie
Sorry Sean. Not quite right. We do replace the ‘if’, but with ‘should’. For example, ‘If I go’ becomes ‘should I go’. And don't forget that in a negative, we use ‘not’ instead of ‘don’t’. For example: ‘if I don’t go’ – ‘should I not go’.

Will
Wrong again! But if you can give me an example, I’ll give you twenty points.

Sean
Should I get this correct, I will receive 20 points!

Will
Well done! Twenty points to Levington. Oh! I’m sorry…did you think I was talking to you? Never mind! And that brings us to the end of today’s Grammar Gameshow. And the winner is… Levington! Well done! Here’s what you’ve won!

Leslie
It’s a chopstick! Just the one though!

Will
We’ll see you again next week, where you can play for another prize. And Sean?

Sean
Yes?

Will
I like you so much, I’m not going to drop you down the pit. Trust me. Release the donkeys! It looks like we’ll need another contestant. Thanks for joining us, and say goodbye Leslie

Leslie
Goodbye, Leslie

Will
See you next time.

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The First Conditional

Form and Use
The first conditional is used to refer to the possible present or future consequences of an action. Its formula is: if + present tense, will + a bare infinitive verb.
If I go anywhere today, I will go to the cinema.

The if clause
'If + a present tense' is called the 'if clause' or 'conditional clause'. It can go at the beginning of the conditional sentence or in the middle. When the if clause appears at the beginning of the sentence, it is followed by a comma. The tense used within this clause can be any present tense. The present simple is the most common, but the present continuous or present perfect tense are also possible.
If you go out, will you buy me an ice-cream?
He won't pass the test if he doesn't know the answer.
If they don't go to France, where will they go?
If she's buying lunch, will you ask her to get me some too?
Will you buy a car immediately if you've passed your test?

'Will' in the if clause
We do not normally put a 'will' in the if clause of a first conditional, however - although it is uncommon, it is possible. We usually do this when expressing strong emotion such as insistence or irritation.
If he will act like a fool in class, he won't get a very good education.

Formality
We can make a first conditional more polite by replacing 'if' with 'should'. When doing this with a negative if clause, use 'not' instead of 'don't' or 'doesn't'.
Should I go anywhere today, I will go to the cinema.
Should you not finish on time, will you call me?

To do

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The Grammar Gameshow Quiz

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Downloads

You can download the audio and PDF document for this episode here. 

More

That's all from Leslie and the contestants for this episode. Why not go to The Grammar Gameshow homepage to watch another one?