Zero Conditional | English Conditionals | English Grammar

The Zero Conditional – Present Real Conditional.

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What is the zero conditional?

  • Zero conditional is easy to form because all the verbs are in present tense. You just use two clauses, one with If + simple present verb and the other with another simple present verb:

If + Present Simple, …. Present Simple.

For example:

If you freeze water, it turns into ice.

And, if you heat water at 100 degrees, it boils.

If students miss an exam, the professor fails them.

  • You can reverse the order of the clauses. If the “if” clause comes first, a comma is usually used. If the “if” clause comes second, there is no need for a comma.

For example:

The professor fails students if they miss an exam.

I get tired if I work too much.

  • We often use the imperative or the modal verb in the main clause when we give some advice or instructions.

For example:

If I’m late for dinner, start eating without me.

  • The ‘if‘ in this conditional can usually be replaced by ‘when‘ without changing the meaning.

For example:

When people eat too much, they get fat. (= If people eat too much, they get fat.)

  • Unless‘ means the same as ‘if not‘.

For example:

Unless he asks you politely, refuse to do any more work on the project. (= If he doesn’t ask you politely, refuse to do any more work on the project.)

Zero Conditional | English Conditionals | English Grammar


How to use the zero conditional

The zero conditional is is used for actual facts, scientific events, things which are always true.

For example:

If you heat ice, it melts.

If you cross an international date line, the time changes.

And, if public transport is efficient, people stop using their cars.

If my wife has a cold, I usually catch it.

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