Learn the Conditionals in 5 Minutes

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What’s up guys?! This is Chad form Real Life English, and I’m here today to present you with a really cool English lesson.

This is a subject which a lot of my students have many difficulties with, and I find that a lot of them get very confused, but it’s actually quite a simple subject. So, I’m going to quickly break this down, and try to teach you this within 3…5… whatever minutes.

So the subject today is conditionals. That’s right, how to use conditionals in English. Let’s start from the start, the zero conditional

What is that? The zero conditional, like it says here, is pretty much when you’re speaking about cause and effect. So for example:

If you heat water it boils

The verb is in the present in both clauses.

When you HEAT water, it BOILS
If you DRINK a lot of beer, you GET drunk

That is the zero conditional. Remember the verb is in the present form in both clauses of the phrase.

The second one, which is the first conditional, this one here. We are talking about future consequences. So when I talk about this I’m going to use the first part, using the “if” clause.

If I drink a lot of alcohol, I will get drunk

So this is a future consequence. So if I do this now, if I drink, I will get drunk. Ok. And we can do this with another circumstance. For example:

If I crash my car, I will have to buy a new one
If I arrive late, I will be in trouble

OK, so that’s for future consequences.

Let’s go to the next one which is, the second conditional. A lot of people have many problems with this one, and this is always related to a hypothetical present situation.

So, what the hell do I mean when I say that? A hypothetical situation is;

if I won the lottery…

So I’m using the If I, and I use the verb in the simple past. This is confused a lot uhh… I’m going to direct this to our Brazilian audience, who speak Portuguese. You have a different conjugation for this, “se eu ganasse.” So it’s like hypothetical conjugation in Portuguese.

But in English the hypothetical conjugation is just the simple past.

If I won
If I had
If I went

That is the second conditional so,

If I won the lottery I would buy…

Wow, I would buy many things, but the whole idea here is we using the first part in the simple past, the second is I would buy.

I’m going to use a modal verb, most probably, most of the time you’re going to use would, because it’s a hypothetical situation so,

If I won the lottery I would buy a new car, I would buy a mansion, I would travel around the world. Ok.

Another situation would be

If I fell off my motorcycle, I would really hurt myself

So, I hope that doesn’t happen. That’s a hypothetical situation.

And, the last one here I have written on the board is the third conditional. This is a hypothetical past situation. And the conjugation here would be using, let me just give you an example:

If I had eaten too much, I would have gotten sick

So the first part of the clause is

If I had eaten, or
If I had gone
If I had seen

We use it, it’s the past perfect I’m using, I had done.

And the second part would be, for example:

If I had gone to the Real Life Englsih party, I would have really enjoyed it/ I would have enjoyed it.

So the second part would be the modal perfect. I’m using The modal verb would plus have plus the verb in the participle.

I would have enjoyed it401193_443996305683436_1166802563_n

And you really would have enjoyed it for everyone who didn’t go. The last Real Life English party was awesome, anyone who lives in Belo Horizonte should definitely go there, because if you didn’t go you would have really enjoyed it!

And very quickly, I know that my white board is finished. Apparently there are no more conditionals, but I’m going to quickly teach you one last conditional which is, I’m not even 100% sure that this is a conditional but we use this all the time, and this is:

I was going to

This is kind of strange because we’re using going to which is a future reference like:

I am going to travel
I am going to have dinner


But when I change the verb into the past, I was going to, this becomes like an intention that I had, or didn’t have. So if I use the positive;

I was going to… I was going to go to the real life party. That means that you intended to go but you didn’t

conditionals thumbOr if I said, hummm I wasn’t going to go out last night but all my friends were calling me so I thought I should go. And I didn’t intend to go out in that case.

Ok, so that concludes this really quick English lesson, explaining all of the conditionals. I hoped it helped you guys, and remember this video is linked to an article on the Real Life English website, so if you are having trouble understanding everything that I’m saying, there is a link at the bottom of this video, it will take you directly to the reallifebh.com website, where you can find the transcript to everything I’m saying right now.

Ok, I hope you guys enjoyed it and have a good one, we’ll see you later!!

  • Nancy Valente says:

    aw yeah! Thanks, mate! Great lesson! 😉

  • Chad Fishwick says:

    Awww Yeah! Thanks Nancy Valente!

  • Chad Fishwick says:

    Awww Yeah! Thanks Nancy Valente!

  • good lessons , thank uu.

  • Very useful, thank you.

  • Zain Ali says:

    thanx to much.

  • Melissa Gonzalez says:

    This is a very good "mini class".

  • Azael Mortem says:


  • Tati Casoria says:

    Very well explained and nicely made! Congrats!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Well, I learnt the conditionals through a short story (by Richard Vaughan). That was:
    I was leaving my job when I saw a beggar at the end of the street, and, right away, I thought:
    -If I have a coin I’ll give it to him. (1st conditional)
    When I got him, I checked my pocket, and I realized I didn’t have any coin, so I told him:
    -If I had a coin, I’d give it to you. (2nd conditional)
    In the end of the day, I got home, and I was sitting with my wife, and I told him the story of the beggar, then I said:
    -If I had had a coin, I would have given it to him. (3rd conditional)
    I hope you enjoy the story (I think it takes less than 5 minute).
    P.S.: Feel free to correct what you want.

  • Justin says:

    Great job, Chad! Now I can use this video for my students.

  • Fernando Lourenço says:

    Quick, however, very helpful! Thank's.

  • Mari Af says:

    ???? ?? 3500 ????? ?????? ????? 50 ???? ? ?? ??? ??????? ?????? ? ????? ?
    ????? ? ???? ? ?????? ??? ????? ? ????? ???? … ????? ??? ????????