If… If… If…

When teaching conditionals it is really important to introduce only ONE type of conditional sentences at a time. Teaching the complete system all at once will lead to great confusion. Diligent learners might be able fill in the right verb tenses in gapped texts, but they will not use the tenses correctly in free production.


Remember: In order to use conditionals correctly in free production learners must first develop clear concepts of the meanings of each type of conditionals. This is best done if the examples and practice topics are very closely related to the learners’ personal life-stories.

I have collected some useful exercises that might help your learners develop each of these concepts.  More coming soon…


I: If it rains tomorrow…

…we won’t go hiking.



II: If I was the principal of this school…

…I would start school at 9.00


Hypothetically Speaking (bogglesworld cardgame)

If-chain game (for groups of three)

Domino Race: What would you do if…?

Why might you…? Justifying actions.

What would you do if…? (bogglesworld boardgame): Even better: Give the learners a sheet with 16 blank cards and ask them to write 16 questions they would really like to ask their classmates. Each question must start with:  What would you do if….

Then the learners share their cards in groups of 4 and take turns reading out the questions. Each question is discussed in the group.





III: If I had studied more for my last English-test…

…I would have done a lot better.

I like to introduce this type of if-clauses with a video-clip from the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. 


While watching the scene the students take notes (keywords). Then they work in pairs and  try to reconstruct the sentences exactly as they were said in the extract. In a final phase we check the answers with the help of this short powerpoint presentation.


Another good task to practice talking about REGRETS can be found on the British Council ESOL page.

Once Upon a Time: another great video clip to practice the third conditional


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