This is the second in a 2-part series all about zombies. In part 1 I talked about the zombie in popular culture, analysis of the zombie as a metaphor and then some rules for surviving the zombie apocalypse. To listen to part 1 – click here. In episode 2 I’m going to take a couple of zombie survival quizzes and then do a language focus on conditionals. [Download]
Part 3: Conditionals
I’m going to explain them and give examples. For pronunciation you should repeat the sentences after me. Listen for connected speech and weak forms.
Generally speaking, conditionals refer to sentences with an ‘if’ clause (the conditional clause) and a consequence clause. Sometimes other conjunctions are used, like ‘when’, ‘as soon as’ or ‘unless’.
These are used to refer to facts that are always true and the consequences that always happen. It’s a present tense in the ‘if’ clause and a present tense in the consequence clause. For example, “When the sun comes up, the day begins” or “When the sun goes down, the night-time begins and all the evil monsters come out!”
Sometimes we use “when” instead of “if” and this just emphasises that this always happens. Using “if” suggests that it doesn’t always happen, but nevertheless the consequence is always the same. “If I talk about zombies, my girlfriend gets scared”. You could also say, “Every time” or “whenever”.
Also, we can use imperatives in the conditional clause. “If I get bitten, shoot me in the head before I turn into a zombie.”
These are used to talk about a future event (which you think is likely) and its logical consequence. It uses a present tense in the ‘if’ clause and a future form in the consequence.
*Don’t put ‘will’ (or any future form) into the ‘if’ clause.
“Shh! Be quiet! If you make too much noise you’ll attract more zombies!”
“If we see another zombie again I’ll lose my mind”
Use ‘when’ to emphasise that you think it’s definitely going to happen.
“When we arrive, we’ll need to check all the rooms for walkers”
Use ‘as soon as’ to emphasise that the consequence will happen immediately.
“As soon as he comes in the room, I’ll smash him in the head with this baseball bat!”
Use these when you’re talking about hypothetical future or present events – not the past. For the future it means things that you don’t expect to happen, but you’re speculating on them anyway. If you think they’re likely, use 1st conditionals. If you think they’re unlikely, use a 2nd conditional. Use a past tense in the ‘if’ clause and then would in the other clause.
*Don’t put ‘would’ in the if clause.
“If I met a zombie in real life, I’d probably be fine”
“You’d be screwed if you met a zombie in real life”
“I reckon I’d survive if a zombie outbreak happened”
It’s also for imagining an alternative present.
“If I was a zombie I’d just stay at home.”
“If I were you I’d get yourself a weapon.”
Here we are imagining an alternative past. It’s not the real past, but a hypothetical one. Use ‘had + past participle’ in the ‘if’ clause and then ‘would + have + past participle’ in the other clause. This one’s tricky because of all the auxiliary verbs.
“If you hadn’t saved me I would have been absolutely fucked” (You saved me and I wasn’t absolutely fucked)
“If he’d been more careful he wouldn’t have got bitten”.
“We wouldn’t have survived very long if we hadn’t stayed together!”
This could be a hypothetical past action with a present result.
“If he’d been more careful he’d be alive today”
Or a hypothetical present with a past result (yes it’s possible).
“If the government wasn’t so corrupt, this would never have happened.”