You are in: Learning English > The Flatmates
Learning English - The Flatmates
 Homepage Language Point Quiz Talk Archive Background
Archive Language Point 98

The zero conditional

 A conditional is used to talk about a possible or imaginary situation (the condition) and the consequences (or the result) of it.

The zero conditional - meaning

 We use the zero conditional to talk about something that will always happen (the result), if or when a particular condition is met. Alice uses the zero conditional to tell Paul that whenever he next needs a babysitter in the future (the condition), he will always have to find someone other than Alice to help him (the result). Next time you need a babysitter, find some other mug! When it's 7.30, you go to bed Ellie. If there's an emergency, Paul always helps at the hospital. So, the meaning is that if the condition is met, then the result will always happen.

The zero conditional - form

The zero conditional is made up of the condition (the 'if/when/next time' part of the sentence) and the consequence or the result.

The Condition
 The consequence or result
 If + present simple,
 present simple
Next time you need a babysitter,
When you shop online,
If you heat ice,
 find some other mug. you get a 10% discount. it melts.

Note:
There is always a comma (,) between the two parts of the zero conditional, when we start with the 'if' part:

Next time you need a babysitter, find some other mug!
When it's 7.30, you go to bed Ellie.
If there's an emergency, Paul always helps at the hospital.

But when we start with the result part of the conditional, we don't need a comma:
Find some other mug next time you need a babysitter.
You go to bed when it's 7.30.
Paul always helps if there's an emergency.

If, when, whenever

 If and when or whenever mean the same thing in the zero conditional. If it rains, she takes the bus = When it rains, she takes the bus. Whenever he sees a spider, he screams. = If he sees a spider, he screams.

The zero conditional - time

 The zero conditional talks about things that are always true. Although it uses the present simple form, it doesn't refer only to the present, it refers to all time. When you go to university, you need to work hard. Whenever I call him, he's never there.

Vocabulary

 casualties people who are injured or killed in a serious accident or war so-so (informal) not very good or well spoiled someone who does exactly what s/he wants to do and is selfish and doesn't care or respect other people brat (informal) a child who behaves badly or rudely a temper tantrum behaving in a rude way because you don't get the things you want a mug (informal) a stupid person

Most Recent

The quiz

The episode