How important is English grammar when it comes to academic writing? Well, if you’re writing in English, it’s of utmost importance. Quite frankly, researchers and students should have a thorough understanding of certain intricacies of grammar. For instance, take conditional sentences. This category of grammar is of great utility in academic writing. Hence, it’s important to learn and understand how to use this aspect of English grammar.
Example: If you want to succeed, you need to work hard.
In this case, the dependent clause is if you want to succeed. The main clause is you need to work hard.
Types of conditional sentences
There are many ways to classify conditional statements. A common method is to classify them based on the probability of the result, which gives the following types of sentences:
- Zero conditional
- First conditional
- Second conditional
- Third conditional
- Mixed conditional
Things to keep in mind
Punctuation is one of the main areas where people tend to commit errors while using conditional sentences. If the conditional clause comes first, then a comma should be used to separate it from the main clause. However, if the conditional clause comes after the main clause, then there is no need to use a comma.
Example: If I see her, I will let her know.
(Conditional clause comes before the main clause.)
I will let her know if I see her.
(Conditional clause comes after the main clause.)
Conditional sentences have specific rules regarding tense as well. The table below illustrates this.
TENSE / OTHER RULES
|Dependent Clause(if clause)||Main Clause (then clause)|
|Zero conditional||Simple Present||Simple Present|
|First conditional||Simple Present||Simple Future|
|Second conditional||Simple Past||Modal auxiliary verb should be present|
|Third conditional||Past Perfect||Modal auxiliary verb|
|Mixed conditional||i) Past Perfect||Present Conditional|
|ii) Simple Past||Perfect Conditional|