Conditional sentences (sentences containing “if”) usually have two parts. One part is the result and the other part is the condition that the result depends on. To figure out which part of the sentence is which you just need to locate the word “if.” The condition of the sentence usually comes right after the word if. The result of this condition usually follows a comma (,) which is used to separate the condition from the result.
There are two common types of conditional sentences in English, either real conditionals or unreal conditionals. The difference between these two is simple, real conditionals refer to things that are true/fact or possible, whereas unreal conditionals refer to things that are unreal, hypothetical or not possible.
Here are some true conditionals:
If you study hard, you will get an A.
If I have extra money, I will buy a soda.
If John grows up to be rich, he will buy his parents a mansion.
In all these examples you can exchange the words ‘might’ and ‘may’ with the word will if the conditional result is less likely to happen.
Here are some unreal conditionals:
If I were rich, I would buy you a new car.
If children ruled the world, there would be ice cream for every meal.
If my sister were here, she would know what to do.
You will notice in these examples that the past tense is used when talking about the present or future. This may seem strange at firsts, but when you see an “if” sentence like this it should help you remember this is an unreal conditional.