Matthew Walsh's EFL ESL website
Conditionals: Is it real or not?
Today's essay question is:

Hometown Changes:
  If you could change one important thing about your hometown, what would you change? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.

  Essay questions are often like this. They ask you to imagine a non-real situation. In order to answer you must use special type of sentence ( a special set of grammar rules ). These are called 'conditionals'.*

0: If you do bad things to people, bad things happen to you.
( All the time. A universal truth. There is no 'will' in the second clause.)

1: If you work hard in class, you will get a good grade.
( Future. It will probably come true. It is real.)

2: If I were the mayor of my town, I would make more parks.
( Imaginary present and future. Impossible. Non-real. In the 'if' clause, am, is, and are all become were, all other verbs become simple past. The 'would' makes it non-real.  )
3: If they had made a station near my house, I wouldn't have had to walk so far to school when I was young.
( Imaginary past. Non-real. Regret? Past participle (‰ί‹Ž•ͺŽŒjcomes after had, or would have )
2 and 3 mixes: If there had been a tennis court in my neigborhood, I would be a much better player today.
( An imaginary past creates an imaginary present or future, or visa-versa. Non-real.)

  Note: In reality, many people use simple past instead of past participle ( like in 3 ) and 'was' instead of 'were' ( like in 2 ). It doesn't sound strange, but don't write it on a test!
The main point is when you start using past tense to talk about now or the future, it becomes 'non-real'.

  As you can see, you will need to use 2, and 3 a lot to write this essay. One more thing! Look at the 'they' in 3. This 'they' means the government, or city hall, business people or whoever does this sort of thing (make stations). You will probably use this 'they' a lot too.

  Now go to 'Quizlab' and take the quiz called 'conditionals'. You may look at this page while you take the quiz.

Classwords are:

Passwords are:

* The U.S., Great Britian, and Japan all have different ways of explaining this
English grammar. Some say it is all 'conditional' (πŒ•Ά), but some say there are two types, 'conditionals' (πŒ•Ά), and 'subjunctive mood' (‰Ό’θ–@).