Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Real Conditionals about the Present and Past: IF-clauses

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Do you know the classic question about a glass with water? Is it half full or half empty?

We can talk about being an optimist or a pessimist when we check your answers to the homework task.


Lets go over your answers to the tasks from our previous lesson. Okay?

I asked you to finish my sentences. [reads]

Ill go on my computer in a moment, and well look for real conditionals, factual conditionals about the present.

We'll see if you remembered to use the present tense in both clauses: the condition and the result.

Okay. Ra'ed starts us off and says... [reads] 1]

I agree with the statement and it is grammatically correct.

You means...

These are present tense verbs, so it's grammatically correct.

[reads 2]

Good. Again I see present tense here and present tense here.

Now what you think can be about the future, but we're making a general statement. It's a general truth about being a pessimist.

And his last answer is... [reads 3]

I like that. That's a very good approach if you want to stay positive.

TRY is present tense. And of course, I gave this to you.

I'M HAVING...It's present tense, but it's not the simple present, is it?

I'M HAVING is the present progressive.

Okay. Let's go on.

Marcelo gave us answers and he wrote...[reads 1]

And hopefully in a good way, right?

Again, present tense...present tense.

[reads 2]

But of course, you're not a pessimist because you know I not only read...I'm now including your comments in my videos.

Present tense...present tense.


Let's look at what Mahmoud wrote.


Oops. We're missing a verb. Let's put it in. [reads]

Good. So we have present tense...present tense. Okay?

[reads] Let's have subject-verb agreement.

Good. It's correct and I agree with the statement.

[reads] I think a lot of us do the same thing.

Present tense...and present tense.


Remember that the present tense isn't just the simple present.

In our real conditionals about the present, we can have other present verb forms.

Let me show you some examples. We'll see how I go beyond the simple present in the condition.


A number of you asked me on YouTube and Facebook about IF vs. WHEN.

Usually there isnt much of a difference with these real conditionals, these factual conditionals about the present.

IF could suggest that the situation happens less often.

Consider these examples. [reads]

The different between IF and WHEN is basically the same with real conditionals about the past.


You get the sense that most of the time I finished my homework, right?

How about you and the rules you had to follow when you were younger? Lets take a look at that bonus question from our previous leson.

Sean wrote...

Okay. Logical. We have our comma in place.

You really don't need "smoothly." Just "passed."

If you want to talk about how well, you could add "well."

But I think it's clear enough without an adverb.

Stick with the simple past.

And you could be clearer just by adding "the first exam."

Just to be certain...that there's a first exam and there's a make-up exam.

All right. Gabriel wrote...

Good job. Let's just change that to a lower case "i."

Susana wrote...

Wow. That's a strict rule, huh?

Let's add a period.

All right. Marat wrote...

What was it? Let's read.

Claire wrote...

Let's start with a capital (letter).

But let's stick to the simple past. There's no need to shift back to the past perfect.

So you weren't allowed: "I couldn't go."

"If I didn't clean up my room" - you could also say.

Comma in place. Good job.

If you'd like to see more of my corrections to student examples, then visit me on Facebook.

So just as we can have real conditionals about the present, we can have real conditionals about the past.

In our real factual conditionals about the past, we use the past tense in both clauses.

Besides the simple past, we can use the helping verbs WOULD and USED TO + the base verb in the result clause.

Lets look at more examples. Some of you shared things about your past on my Facebook page.

In a recent Facebook post, I said that I used to stay up late if a good movie came on TV, but I can't do that anymore.

So then I asked you, "What's something that you did in the past?" Let's look at some of the answers.

Gabriel wrote...

So we understand now that those visits don't happen anymore.

But it's something he used to do whenever his cousin visited.

IF, WHEN, WHENEVER...They're factual conditionals, so any of those choices could work.

Mollie wrote...

Right? If there was no homework, then that's what she did. She went hiking.

Said wrote...

Annie wrote...

...OR if my friend asked me out for fun.

So my personal preference in your examples...

I would use WHEN in the first because most likely drinking a lot of coffee was a habit. A frequent habit in the past.

So when I felt tired...whenever I felt tired..., I used to drink five cups of coffee.

And IF is still correct, but if you want to suggest it happened quite frequently, you could go with WHEN or WHENEVER.

But you can't do that anymore.

In the second example, I'm hoping that you did not skip class too often.

So better to use IF there.

I used to skip class if my friend asked me to...if she wanted to go out for some fun, for example.

Niki wrote...

Well, I'm glad!

Let's look at one more example.

(probably more than one song, right?)

I'd go with WHEN. I agree because it was a regular habit, I bet.

A regular routine.

Everything in the past. And we're using the simple past because these are real factual conditionals. Real situations.

Here's your next task.

Take a look at three statements. Are the verb forms correct in the conditional sentences?

You dont have to post answers in the comments. Just think about the verb forms. Well go over the correct answers in the next video. Okay?

Heres a bonus question I'd like you to answer in the comments.

What will happen? Answer in a complete sentence.

Remember if you post your examples, Ill likely use them in a future lesson!

Thats all for now. See you again soon for our next lesson on conditionals.

If you found this helpful, please remember to like this video and subscribe.

As always, thanks for watching and happy studies!

The Description of Real Conditionals about the Present and Past: IF-clauses