The Zero, 1st & 2nd Conditionals
This exercise is on the Zero, 1st and 2nd conditionals: when and how to use them. These three forms all refer to the present or future. Using these conditionals correctly and appropriately can often be problematic, mostly because they don’t translate exactly into other languages. The grammar is often different; for example, where you use the subjunctive in Spanish, we use a past tense in 2nd conditional sentences in English. Or sometimes it’s the concept that’s the problem; what types of things do we use them to talk about?
A brief summary of the differences in use.
We use the Zero conditional to talk about universal truths: things that are always true. For example: If you heat water to 100 degrees, it boils.
The 1st conditional is for talking about normal, everyday situations. For example: If I see Anna later, I’ll tell her you called. We also use it for making promises and threats. For example: I’ll buy you an ice-cream if you stop crying!
We use the 2nd conditional to talk about situations and events that are much less probable. For example: If I won the lottery, I’d travel round the world. We also use it to talk about impossible situations. For example: If I had wings, flying would be a lot cheaper!
What structures do we use to form the Zero, 1st & 2nd conditionals?
You can find out about the grammatical structure of the Zero, 1st & 2nd conditionals in our Grammar Reference section. There are also more examples of each sentence type and when to use them. You could either have a look at the rules before you do the exercises, or you could try the test first and check the rules afterwards. Both ways can be useful, and should help you understand the reasons for any mistakes you may have made.
There are also reminders of the rules throughout the test itself; they pop up if you make a mistake.