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English definition of “conditional”


adjective, noun [C] (SENTENCE FORM)    /kənˈdɪʃ.ən.əl/ specialized
( relating to) a sentence , often starting with "if" or " unless ", in which one half expresses something which depends on the other half : a conditional clause "If I won a lot of money , I'd go travelling " is an example of a conditional ( sentence ).Grammatical terms Grammar:Should you (Should with inversion)In formal situations, we can use should + subject (s) + verb (v) instead of if:Grammar:Had you (Had with inversion)In formal situations, we can use had + subject + verb instead of if in third conditional sentences:Grammar:+ In formal situations, we can use if + were to when we talk about things that might happen but which we think are unlikely:Grammar:As long as, so long as, providing, etc.Sometimes we need to impose specific conditions or set limits on a situation. In these cases, conditional clauses can begin with phrases such as as long as, so long as, only if, on condition that, providing (that), provided (that).Grammar:Or and otherwiseWe often use or and otherwise with conditional meanings:Grammar:SupposingSupposing may be used with a conditional meaning. It can be used in first, second or third conditional sentences. The speaker invites the listener to imagine a situation:Grammar:Conditionals: typical errorsGrammar:ConditionalsGrammar:Conditionals: imagined situationsConditional sentences consider imagined or uncertain situations and the possible results of these situations. The most common types of conditional sentences involve if:Grammar:Conditional sentencesConditional sentences consist of a conditional clause and a main clause:Grammar:Order of clausesConditional clauses usually come before main clauses but they may also come after them:Grammar:Verb forms in the conditional clauseThe verb in the conditional clause may be in the simple form or the continuous form, depending on the meaning:Grammar:Conditionals: ifGrammar:Imagined conditionsThere are different types of conditions. Some are possible or likely, others are unlikely, and others are impossible:Grammar:Imagined conditions: the first conditionalWe use the first conditional to talk about the result of an imagined future situation, when we believe the imagined situation is quite likely:Grammar:Imagined conditions: the second conditionalWe use the second conditional to talk about the possible result of an imagined situation in the present or future. We say what the conditions must be for the present or future situation to be different.Grammar:First and second conditional comparedWhen we use the first conditional, we think the imagined situation is more likely to happen than when we use the second conditional.Grammar:Imagined conditions: the third conditionalWe use the third conditional when we imagine a different past, where something did or did not happen, and we imagine a different result:Grammar:Real conditionalsSome conditions seem more real to us than others. Real conditionals refer to things that are true, that have happened, or are very likely to happen:Grammar:Types of conditional: summaryThe table shows how the main types of conditionals relate to one another.Grammar:If + shouldWe can use if with should to refer to events which might happen by chance or by accident:Grammar:Conditional clauses with will or wouldWill and would can be used in conditional clauses, either with the meaning of ‘being willing to do something’, or to refer to later results:Grammar:Mixed conditionalsOften, things that did or did not happen in the past have results which continue or are still important in the present. We can emphasise this by using if with a past perfect verb, and would in the main clause.Grammar:Conditionals in speakingGrammar:Conditionals: other expressions (unless, should, as long as)Grammar:UnlessConditional clauses can begin with unless. Unless means something similar to ‘if … not’ or ‘except if’.
(Definition of conditional adjectivenoun (SENTENCE FORM) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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