Unlock the Secrets of the Conditional Tenses in English

Is it hard for you to keep track of all the conditional tenses in English? Many of my students confuse the zero, first, second, third conditionals.  Maybe you need a quick review.  At last, I’ve come up with some amazing charts and tables to help you unlock the secrets of the conditional tenses in English.  I am eager to help you use these constructions effectively in conversation. Foremost, I want to give you some opportunities to practice them in the form of fun, engaging quizzes. I only ask that you share this epic blog post with your fellow language learners.

The Zero Conditional in English

We use the zero conditional in English to describe things that are always true or that happen often.  “If” and “when” mean “every time.”


The Zero Conditional Quiz

This quiz will test your ability to make zero conditional sentences. Remember, the zero conditional is used to explain things that are expected to happen. The structure is: If/when + present tense, present tense...


The First Conditional

We use the first conditional to talk about a possible future.  This may have to do with health, diet, studying for an exam, or activities that help you reach your goals.



The First Conditional Quiz

This quiz will test your ability to use the first conditional. You will find many great examples of when you can use this grammatical structure. Remember, the first conditional is: If + _____(present tense), ...___will.  Good luck!

The Second Conditional

We use the second conditional to talk about the future when we don’t expect something to happen.  In other words, the second conditional is used for hypothetical situations.


The Second Conditional

This is a quiz that will test your ability to use the second conditional effectively.  Remember that the structure is: If + ___(past tense) , would +verb. 

The Third Conditional

The third conditional is used to talk about an imagined past.  This construction could be used to talk about something you regret or something you would have done differently or a result that could have changed.


The Third Conditional Quiz

The third conditional is very tricky.  This quiz will test your ability to use the third conditional in a variety of situations.  The structure of the third conditional is: If + past perfect, would have + participle 

Mixed Conditionals

We used mixed conditionals to talk about something that happened in the past and that influences our lives now.  These situations are hypothetical and we can look at some specific examples to learn how to use them properly.


Mixed Conditionals

Mixed conditionals are used to describe hypothetical situations in the past that influence you now.  The structure is If + past tenses/ would...

Might, Could, and Would with Conditionals

We use might, could and would in second and third conditional sentences to express the probability of a hypothetical situation occurring.


Might is unlikely and unknown, could is unlikely, but possible, and would is the most probably option. I realize this could be tricky for non-native speakers, so we can work on some examples.  You could use any of these words, but it really depends on the likeliness of something hypothetically happening and you want to select the correct word to communicate that idea.



Might, Could, and Would with 2nd and 3rd Conditionals

We use might, could, and would to express the probability of something happening.  You can use any of them, but choose the one that aligns with the likeliness of a hypothetical situation.  

I hope these quizzes and visual descriptions have helped you become more comfortable with using the conditional tenses in English. Focus on practicing these and I’m sure you will have some important breakthroughs.  Please leave some examples of your own conditional sentences in the comments! If you would like me to add a quiz to this where I mix all the conditional tenses and you have to identify which tense it is, then let me know!


    • movingenglishlessons says:

      I am so glad it was helpful! I am thrilled these examples clarified this tricky grammatical structure in English. Thank you for the comment and encouragement!

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