Conditional Sentences Flow Chart

Conditional sentences are hard to create when you are learning English. I created this conditional sentence flow chart to help you  decide what conditional to use.

How To Use The Flow Chart

The instructions are as follows:

  • Take an activity like visiting Canada.
  • You ask yourself, “am I talking about a real possible thing?”
  • If the answer is yes, move to the real conditional side.
  • Then ask yourself, “Are you trying to express a past habit?”
  • If yes, then use the past real conditionals. If no, then move down the flow chart to the next question.
  • You continue this process until you have determined which conditional you use.

Here is a video to further explain how to use the flow chart.

Conditional Sentence Flow Chart

Conditional Sentence Flow Chart

The chart displays the following Conditionals:

  • Present Real Conditional
  • Past Real Conditional
  • Future Real Conditional
  • Present Unreal Conditional
  • Past Unreal Conditional
  • Future unreal Conditional

The chart also displays what is the form for each conditional as well as an example, so you know how to use it.

Final Thoughts

The flow chart is a great tool to help you to understand what conditional you want to use.  Additional practice is always helpful so if you looking for some good practice for conditionals, you should  check out this practice.

Let me know your thoughts.

What are Conditionals?

What are conditionals?Conditionals are sometimes called if statements, or conditional statements. When we use the word “if” we set up a condition that needs to be met before a result.

There are two parts to conditionals, an if part and a result part. Each part is usually called a clause.

  • e.g. If clause , result clause

You can switch the order of the phrases.

  • e.g. Result clause if clause

Notice that if you put the result clause first you do not need to put a comma to separate the clauses.

There are different types of conditionals based on the tense. There is a past, present and future conditional.

These types of conditionals  are real and unreal.

What is a real conditional?

A real conditional is something that you think is possible.

  • e.g. If I see Bob, I will tell him.

In this example you think that you will see Bob. You think it is a real possibility that is why you used this type of conditional.

What is an unreal conditional?

An unreal conditional is something that you think is impossible or imaginary.

  • e.g. If I had a million dollars, I would be rich.

In this example you don’t have a million dollar, so you aren’t rich. You imagine the situation, that is why you use an unreal conditional.

So what verb tense do you use?

The following are conditional charts that will break down which if goes with what.

Real conditionals

Time If clause Result Clause Example
Present Simple present Simple present If I have money, I shop.
Past Simple past Simple past If I had money, I shopped.
Future Simple present Simple future If I have money, I will shop.

Present real conditional: We use this conditional when something is true now. Whenever you have time now you shop.

Past real conditional: We use this conditional to show that something was true in the past. Whenever you had money in the past you shopped.

Future real conditional: We use this conditional when you think something will be possible in the future. When you have time in the future you will shop.

Unreal conditionals

Time If clause Result Clause Example
Present Simple past Would + infinitive If I had money, I would shop.
Past Past perfect Would + have + past participle If I had had money, I would have shopped.
Future Simple past Would + infinitive If I had money tomorrow, I would shop.

Present unreal conditional: We use this conditional when we want to change the current situation. “If I had money, I would shop.” This means  that you don’t have money now, so you won’t go shopping.

Past unreal conditional: We use this conditional when we want to change something in the past. It is most often used with regrets.”If I had had money, I would have shopped.” This means that you didn’t have money in the past, so you didn’t go shopping.

Future unreal conditional: We use this conditional when you want something in the future to change. “If I had money tomorrow, I would shop.” This means that you won’t have money tomorrow, so you won’t go shopping.

Will and Would

Do not will or would in the if clause.

  • e.g. If I will, I will. (incorrect)
  • e.g. If I see him, I will tell him. (correct)
This is common mistake that people make when they first start using conditionals.

If I were?

In English when we are using unreal conditionals we use “were” instead of was.

  • e.g. If I were you, I would go for a hike.

Typically, we use “I was” instead of “I were” but with unreal conditionals we use were.

 

If you have any questions, try to ask them in the comments as conditionals for practice.