Intermediate grammar exercise: first conditional vs. second conditional

English grammar practice exercise, for pre-intermediate and intermediate level.

In this exercise you will practise the difference between first conditional and second conditional sentences.

Instructions: Decide whether the following sentences should be in the first or second conditional and put the verb in brackets into the appropriate form.


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Structure of the first conditional
positive negative question
If I see him, I'll (I will) tell him. If you don't hurry, you'll (you will) miss the bus. What will you do if there is a problem?

Structure of second conditional
positive negative question
If I had more time, I'd (I would) travel more. I wouldn't (would not) refuse if you offered me $10,000. What would you say if you met Queen Elizabeth?



The first conditional – common mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
If you will go to England, you will improve your English. If you go to England, you will improve your English. We use the present simple in the if-clause.
I'll tell him if I will see him. I'll tell him if I see him. We use the present simple in the if-clause.
If I find his number, I call him. If I find his number, I will call him. We use will in the main clause, to express certainty in the future.

The second conditional – common mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
If I would have enough money, I would buy a new computer. If I had enough money, I would buy a new computer. We use the past simple (I had) in the if-clause. It shows we are talking about something which is unlikely to happen or is an imaginary situation.
If you didn't hurry so much, you will feel more relaxed. If you didn't hurry so much, you would feel more relaxed. The structure of the main clause is would + infinitive.