Grammar: "if-clauses" on the web-site for teachers and learners of English as a secondary language from a German point of view
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'if-clauses'

Type I
 
 
Form Type I.
 
if-clause  + main clause
If / Unless / If .......not  + future I
+ present tense  + shall / will / can / may / might + verb 
If I learn my vocabulary,    I'll get a good mark
or the other way round: 
main clause + if-clause
shall / will / can / may / might + verb   + present tense     simple present
I'll get a good mark.    if I learn my vocabulary
Function open condition: Probable action/result in the future according to a real condition
You'll catch the train if you leave before ten.
Curriculum Lehrplan:
  • Type I and II in form 7 and 8 
  • if vs. when 
Lehrbuch:
  • previously done: 
  • future I  
  • present tense 
Difficulties 1. form:
  • if - plays, - main clause -future I 
  • if - unless 
2. function
  • open conditions 
  • What's condition - what's consequence? 
3. interlingual interferences
  • No future tense in if-clauses 
  • if vs. when 
  • unless 
4. other difficulties
  • position of the if-clause 
Situations
  • operating instructions 
  • making appointments 
  • warnings or possible rewards 
  • suggestions 


Type II
 
Form 
Type II: 
if-clause

+ main clause
If / Unless / If .......not past tense,   + conditional I:+ should / would / could / 'd / might + verb 
If I learnt my vocabulary,     I'd get a good mark.
or the other way round: 
main clause + if-clause
I'd get a good mark    if I learnt my vocabulary

If-clauses in front position are more emphatic.
If-clauses in front position get a comma.

Function Hypothetical statements 
  • Possible action/result according to a less probable condition in the future 

  • We'd have enough money for a new car if you found a good job.
  • Fantasized result or action according to an unreal (untrue) condition in the present 

  • We'd buy a Rolls Royce if we were rich.
Curriculum  Lehrplan:
  • Type II in form 7 or  8 
  • if I were you,
Lehrbuch:
  • previously done: 
  • past tense  
  • if-clause type I 
Difficulties 1. form:
  • if - played, - conditional I 
  • if - unless 
2. function
  • Possible action/result according to a less probable condition in the future 
  • Fantasized result or action according to an unreal (untrue) condition in the present: "virtual reality" 
  • no time indicated by past tense = today or tomorrow 
3. interlingual interferences
  • No conditional tense in if-clauses 
  • if vs. when 
  • unless 
4. other difficulties
  • 'were' instead of 'was' (rest of old conjunctive) 
  • position of the if-clause 
Situations
  • dreams and nightmares 
  • mock examinations: testing a person 
  • exaggerated timidity (But if the bridge fell down....) 
  • reproaches

 

Type III
 
 
Form
Type III:
if-clause 

+ main clause 
If / Unless / If .......not + past perfect, + conditional II
 If I had + -ed or 3rd form,  + should / would/ could / might + have + verb+ed or   3rd form
If I had learnt my vocabulary,    I would have got a good mark.
or the other way round:  .
main clause + if-clause
should / would/ could / might + have + verb -ed or 3rd form    if I had + -ed or 3rd form 
I would have got a good mark    if I had learnt my vocabulary
 
Function If- clause:       unreal condition: the condition can't be fulfilled any longer, because it should have happened in the past, but didn't.
main clause:  the consequence can't take place any more, because the condition couldn't be fulfilled.

If I had learnt more (but I didn't  learn=unreal condition), I would have got a better mark. (So I didn't get a better mark= impossible  consequence)
or the other way round:
I would have got a better mark (So I didn't get a better mark= impossible consequence) if I had learnt more (but I didn't  learn=unreal condition)

Curriculum  Lehrplan:
                    form 9 + 10 (repetition)

Lehrbuch: 
                     Type I and II in form 7 and 8 
                      if vs. when 

Difficulties 1. interlingual interferences 

                         No conditional tense in if-clauses 
                         if vs. when 
                         unless 

2. other difficulties 

                         position of the if-clause 

Situations
  • dreams and nightmares about the past
  • castles in the air in the past
  • reproaches
  • self-blaming 


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if-clauses
Type I + II + III
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