First conditionals

Form: if + Simple Present + will + verb 1

  • We use it to express high probability. If there is a high probability that something will happen, we can use this construction.

If we are late, Ann will be angry

  • We can interchange the clauses:

Ann will be angry, if we are late

  • We can also use can, may, might, should instead of will
  • If the consequence is only possible we use may or might:

If the rain stops, we might go to play outside

Remember the following difference between if and when:


  1. Take something from the fridge if you are hungry
  2. Take something from the fridge when you are hungry

As you see, the first sencence expresses condition. It is not certain that the person will be hungry. However, it is strongly suggested that the person will be hungry in the second sentence. So IF expresses condition while WHEN expresses a future event.

Previous articleZero, First and Second Conditionals
Next articleRandom expressions