When we are thinking about a possible situation in the future, we use:
If + Present verb, future verb
This structure is common when talking about possible plans, promises, warnings, threats or for persuading someone. We are predicting a likely result in the future if a condition is fulfilled.
If + Simple Present, Will / Won't ...
- If I go to Paris next month for work, I'll visit the Eiffel Tower (Plans)
- If I have time, I will help you. (Promise)
- If you touch that wire, you will get an electric shock. (Warning)
- If you eat my chocolate that is in the fridge, you'll sleep outside with the dog.(Threat)
- If you take me to the mall, I'll buy you an ice cream. (Persuasion)
- If she doesn't go to university, her parents won't be happy.
- If it rains, we will cancel the trip.
- If that candidate becomes President, the country will be in trouble.
- If I win the competition, I will donate half of the prize money to charity.
Notice how we use a comma after the present tense clause.
We can also reverse the order and use:
Future Verb + If + Present Simple
- I will be annoyed if they don't arrive on time.
- You will get a better job if you can speak English.
- You will miss the bus if you don't hurry.
- The dog will bite you if you pull its tail.
- Your boss will be angry if you don't finish the job.
- What will you do if they fire you?
- You will feel better if you take this medicine.
Notice how the comma is not necessary with this word order.
Modal Verbs in First Conditional
Normally WILL is used in the main clause of first conditional sentences. However you can also use the modal verbs MAY, MIGHT and COULD when something is a possible consequence (and not a certain one) in the future.
- If you are nice to me, I may buy you a gift when I'm in Peru.
- If they train a little harder, they might win the match.
- If he doesn't do his work, he could get fired.
See our grammar notes about the following:
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