Conditional

Posted: June 6, 2008 in Materi Bahasa Inggris

First Conditional or Second Conditional

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When using Conditionals, it is sometimes difficult to know when to use the First Conditional and when to use the Second Conditional.

Generally speaking, if you want to talk about something which is likely to happen, use the First Conditional; if the idea is unlikely, use the Second Conditional.

Obviously sometimes we can use either of these types.

If I work too much, I will hurt myself.
If I worked too much, I would hurt myself.

The first example suggests that I think I work too much and I ought to stop; the second example suggests I don’t want to work too hard and this is why not.

Using the first or second conditional depends on the point of view of the speaker:

a pessimist says if I won…
an optimist says if I win…
a pessimist says if my house is on fire…
an optimist says if my house were on fire…

The First Conditional uses the present tense and the second conditional uses the past tense, but both of these conditionals can talk about the present or future – the tense does not show time but likelihood.

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