If Clauses


If clauses are usually used to talk about uncertain events and situations. They often refer to a condition – something which must happen first, so that something else can happen.

Clauses of this kind are often called conditional clauses. There are four main types of conditional clauses in English. They are:

  1. Zero conditional
  2. Type 1 conditional
  3. Type 2 conditional
  4. Type 3 conditional

Position of an if clause

An if-clause can come at the beginning or end of a sentence. When an if-clause begins a sentence, we use a comma to separate it from the rest of the sentence.

Compare:

Leaving out If

In a formal or literary style if can be dropped and an auxiliary verb put before the subject. This is common with had, should and were.