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Session 2

If you knew what we know, then you probably wouldn't have to follow this session about conditionals. Even if you do know all about them, why not check out our review, just to make sure!

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Activity 3

6 Minute Grammar

Review of conditionals

Join Callum and Finn for this programme as they review four different types of conditionals. Has Finn prepared? What would have made him stay in bed? How bossy is Callum? Find out the answers to these questions and much more in 6 Minute Grammar!

Listen to 6 Minute Grammar

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Callum
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Grammar with me, Callum

Finn
And me, Finn

Callum
So Finn, what is our topic today?

Finn
I don’t know.

Callum
Haven’t you read the script?

Finn
No, when I come to the studio, I read the script, not before.

Callum
If you had read the script, you would know what it’s about.

Finn
Well if you give me a few minutes, I’ll just give it a quick read.

Callum
I’d love to give you a few minutes if we had the time. But this is 6 Minute Grammar, not 16 Minute Grammar.

Finn
If I’d known you were going to be so bossy, I’d’ve stayed in bed.

Callum
Mmm. So what is today’s topic? If you’ve been paying attention, you might have worked it out.

Finn
We’ve had a lot of ‘ifs’, that is a bit of a clue.           

Callum
It is indeed. Today we’re reviewing conditionals.

Finn        
Conditional sentences connect two things. One thing follows on from something else.

Callum
Conditional sentences generally have two parts, the conditional clause, which is sometimes called the if clause, and a main clause. The if clause states a condition and the main clause has what happens because of that condition.

Finn
And there are different kinds of conditional structures depending on whether we’re dealing with something in the present or past and if we’re talking about something real or imagined.

Callum
We normally talk about four different conditional structures. The first one is called the zero conditional. Here’s an example from earlier. Let’s wind back a bit.

[sfx: tape rewinding]

Finn
When I come to the studio, I read the script.

Callum
Now Finn, what time does that refer to?

Finn
It’s not really past, present or future, is it? It’s timeless. It’s always.

Callum
And this is what the zero conditional is for. Things that are always true, things that always happen. One thing happens, something else follows.

Finn
It’s also commonly used for general truths and facts. Like in these examples.

Feifei
When you heat water enough, it boils.
If you leave milk out long enough, it goes bad.

Callum
And in zero conditionals, when and if have the same meaning. Let’s move on now to the first conditional.

[sfx: tape rewinding]

Finn
Well if you give me a few minutes, I’ll just give it a quick read.

Callum
Finn, what time does this refer to?

Finn
This one is about something that might happen in the future. I’ll read the script.

Callum
Will that definitely happen?

Finn
No, it’ll only happen after a particular condition is met, and that condition is that you give me enough time.

Callum
With the first conditional, you can use when as well as if but unlike the zero conditional, they do have different meanings. Listen to these examples.

Feifei
If I go to the shops, I’ll get some bread.
When I go to the shops, I’ll get some bread.

Callum
So Finn: “If I go to the shops”. Am I definitely going to the shops?

Finn
No, not this time. It’s a possibility, but not definite.

Callum
And what about: “When I go to the shops”?

Finn
In this one, using when, there is a definite plan to go to the shops.

Callum
So the first conditional expresses a likely result of a possible or definite future condition.

IDENT       
You’re listening to BBC Learning English.

Callum
Today we’re reviewing different conditional forms.

Finn
We’ve looked at zero and first conditionals, and it was Callum who gave us an example of the second conditional.

[sfx: tape rewinding]

Callum
I’d love to give you a few minutes if we had the time.

Finn
What time does this refer to, Callum?

Callum
It’s an imaginary present time – do we have the time now? No we don’t. It’s making a prediction about something that could be possible if something in the present were different. We’re imagining a different present reality.

Finn
Wow. That's very sci-fi, Callum!

Callum
And now the third conditional. Let’s go back again and here the example.

[sfx: tape rewinding]

Finn
If I’d known you were going to be so bossy, I’d’ve stayed in bed.

Callum
Finn, what time are we talking about here?

Finn
We’re talking about the past, but something that didn’t happen in the past.

Callum
Yes, you didn’t know when you got up this morning that I was going to be so bossy.

Finn
No, my past action would have been different, if I had known. I would have stayed in bed!

Callum
So with the third conditional were imagining a different past reality.

Finn
Very good. That’s right. Very sci-fi again Callum.

Callum
Now, just time for a quick quiz. You’re going to hear a sentence and you need to work out whether it’s a zero, first, second or third conditional. Here’s the first one:

Finn
If you drop the price, you’ll sell more.

Callum
That’s first conditional. Here’s the next one:

Finn
If I were you, I’d take the job.

Callum
And that one is second conditional. What about this one?

Finn
When I’ve had a busy day, I want some peace and quiet when I get home.

Callum
Did you get it? That was the zero conditional.

Finn
Well done if you got all of those right.

Callum
If we had more time we could tell you a lot more about conditionals.

Finn
But we don’t, so we’re going to say goodbye for now, and remind you that there's more about this topic on our website bbclearningenglish.com. Do join us again soon for more 6 Minute Grammar.

Both           
Bye.

 

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End of Session 3

That's the end of this grammar session about conditionals. If you've enjoyed it and learnt something, that's great!