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Zero Conditionals

  • The zero conditional describes situations that are always true.

  • ‘ If ‘ can be replaced by when or whenever without changing the meaning of a given sentence.

  • Form
    The zero conditional is made up of two present simple verbs:
    • the ‘if’ clause in the present simple
    • the main clause in the present simple.

  • If you park your car on double yellow lines, you pay a fine.
    (Whenever you park illegally, you pay a fine.)

  • If water reaches 100 degrees, it boils.
    (It is always true, there can’t be a different result sometimes).

  • You get water if you mix hydrogen and oxygen.
    (It’s always true!)

  • If they go to school, they get up at seven.
    (Whenever they go to school they get up at the same time.)

  • My friends always help me if I ask them.
    (My friends help me whenever I ask them.)

Other Forms
Apart from the basic forms (the present simple in the main clause and the if clause),
we can use other verb forms in the zero conditional sentences:

  • If you want to be healthy, you must exercise.
    (a modal verb in the main clause)

  • If you are tired all day long, sleep more!
    (an imperative in the main clause)

‘ If ‘ is the most frequent expression in the if clauses, but other expressions are also possible. even if, provided (that), unless, on condition (that)

  • Iron melts on condition that it is heated..

  • He never says hello unless you say hello to him first.

  • Meat goes off provided that we don’t keep it in a fridge.

  • the teacher always shouts even if there’s no need.