First and second conditionals – grammar chart

 
First vs second conditionals - grammar chart

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First conditional vs second conditional

 
We use the first conditional and the second conditional to talk about present or future situations.

We use the first conditional to talk about possible situations, things that may easily happen. We use the second conditional to talk about unrealistic situations.

  • If I see Sara, I’ll tell her to call you. (=possible)
  • If I won the lottery, I’d buy a new house.  (=unrealistic)

Sometimes we use either the first or second conditional, and we use one or the other depending on how probable we think the situations are to happen.

  • If I find her, I’ll tell her that I love her. (=I think it’s possible that I find her)
  • If I found her, I’d tell her that I love her. (=I think it’s improbable that I find her)