A conditional sentence is a type of subordinate clause that states a hypothesis or condition that can be real or imagined. They are usually introduced by the conjunction if, but there are other possibilities, like unless, providing, as long as, in case (of), etc.
There are four different types of conditional sentences, but some linguists consider that they can be reduced to three, since types 0 and 1 are very similar. Have a look at this table:
|If clause||Main clause|
|Present simple||Present simple|
|Present simple||Future |
|Past simple||Conditional |
|Past perfect||Perfect conditional |
As you can see, in both types, 0 and 1, the subordinate clause or “if clause” has the same tense: the present simple. That's why, some grammarians consider that they are just two varieties of the same group.
In the following presentation there is a complete explanation and some examples of the different types.
If I were rich, I would buy a Ferrari. (more formal)
If I was rich... (more colloquial)
Image: 'Ferrari F50'
Nevertheless, were is always preferred in the expression If I were you...
There are many songs in which you can find examples of conditionals, but today we will listen to Beyoncé singing “If I were a boy”. Note the use of the contracted form of would ('d)
And now some exercises to check what you have learnt today.