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Zero Conditional

Zero Conditional Structure and Uses

The zero conditional or real conditional describes true things. We describe a real situation using the zero conditional or a very probable situation in the present or future. We can also use zero conditional to talk about rules, habits, universal truth, and instruction. But every sentence declaring a fact is not a conditional sentence. A conditional sentence must have two clauses, the if-clause/conditional clause and the main/result clause.  

Structure of the Zero Conditional 

The zero conditional is formed using the present simple tense both in the if and the main clause.

If + Subject + Present Tense, Subject + Present Tense.

We can also invert this structure by placing the main clause first. In this case, we don’t put a comma between the two clauses.

Subject + Present simple If + Subject Present Simple.

We can replace ‘if’ with ‘when’ in a situation where we are sure the action happens. 

Examples of Zero Conditional

  • If we boil water, it becomes steam. (Universal truth)
  • If we drop something, it falls. (Always true: Anything comes back down every time we drop it.)
  • If she gets up early, she always walks. (This statement is generally true: She walks every time she gets up early.)
  • If you are learning conditional sentences, you will find this article helpful.
  • If it’s cold, I wear a jacket.
  • When we put a stone in water, it sinks.
  • This thing floats when you put it in water.
  • If she loves him, then tell him.
  • If they arrive late to the class, the teacher doesn’t let them sit in the class.  
  • If the boy squawks, everyone in the street hears him.
  • When I cut an onion, it makes me cry.
  • Plants die If you don’t water them.
  • Look for him on the second floor if you reach there late.
  • Does the dog bark when you throw a stone on it?
  • When the baby is happy, she smiles.
  • Chlorine kills bacteria if we put it in water.
  • This paper makes a lot of some if we burn it.
  • That building looks green when the sunshine on it.
  • If we add three and three, we get six.

Zero Conditional Negative

The zero conditional is made negative by inserting don’t/does, not after the subject. 

  • It doesn’t rain if the weather doesn’t get cold.
  • Don’t drive a bike if you are under 18.
  • He gets angry if his son doesn’t come early at night.
  • Don’t talk on your phone If you drive a car.
  • If we don’t keep children away from the fire, they burn themselves.
  • If you don’t understand these works, look for them in your dictionary.
  • Unless the temperature falls below 0o C, the water turns into ice.
  • We don’t get warm if the sun doesn’t shine.
  • The manager does not let us go home early if we don’t work hard for some hours.
  • Unless it rains, the ground doesn’t get wet.
  • This glass doesn’t break if you drop it.
  • Plants don’t grow well if they don’t get enough water.
  • I don’t walk much if it rains every day.

Conditional with Imperatives 

An imperative sentence can be used in the result clause of a conditional sentence. A hypothetical situation describes in the if-clause, and the imperative in the main clause describes the suggested action that someone should take if that hypothetical situation happens.

If you’re cold, put on a blanket.
If you feel sick, go to the hospital.
If they don’t work correctly, call me.
If she doesn’t respond, ignore her.
Go to bed early if you are tired.
Call me if you need more money.

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