As you learned briefly before, conditional statements are statements in which something is likely to happen or not, upon fulfilling certain conditions. There are different kinds of conditional statements.
Conditional statements that:
- have a reasonable degree of being fulfilled
- have a remote possibility of happening
- can’t happen at all
In the above examples, the verb “invite” is acting as an adjective (invited), but the verb “to be” is in the simple present in the “if clause”. The verb in the dependent clause is in the future tense with “will” because the speaker promises to carry out an action if the condition or conditions are met.
When using an adverb of frequency as in the above examples, both the “if clause” and the “dependent clause” use the simple present. In the above examples, both clauses are in the negative form and both conditions still need to be fulfilled to complete the action. In all of the above examples, the conditions have a reasonable possibility of being fulfilled.
In the above examples, the speaker is expressing a wish or an idea that they would like to come true. In this case, we use the simple past tense in the “if clause” and “would” or “could” in the statement. There is a remote possibility for this to happen.
Notice that in the first four examples, all of the situations are impossible to happen because the speaker is not the person or never will be the person in the situation they are describing. In the last two examples, the condition is impossible to be met because the person being described doesn’t have the required conditions to complete the conditional statement. In the “if clause” we use the past tense of the verb to be, “were” for all for subjects. In informal speech sometimes we use “was” for the subjects, but this is uncommon.
Conditional Statements with the Past Tense
We can also use conditional statements to express regret about something that we did or did not do in the past. This is like trying to change the past(something that is not possible) but we can think and talk about it.