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englisch artikel (Interpretation und charakterisierung)

Conditional sentences



There are three types of conditional sentences which consist of a subordinate clause with if and a main clause.

The subordinate clause is unsally introtuced by if (=wenn/falls). We can also use the conjunctions unless (=wenn nicht, außer wenn), in case (=falls, wenn, für den Fall), as long (=solange, sofern), suppose/supposing (= angenommen).



Don´t use would in the if-clause



Conditional sentence 1



A conditional sentence of type 1 refers to the future or the present. In the if-clause, we normally use the simple present, and in the main clause we use the will-future or a modal auxiliary + infintive.

When we use the simple present in the if-clause, we express areal or a open condition:

we see it as possible that the condition will be fulfilled. Or we can refer to something that we already know is true.



if-clause main clause



If you book your flight early, you´ll get it cheaper.

wenn du deinen Flug früh buchst, bekommst du ihn billiger.

(It is possible that you will book your flight early.)



If Pat is English, you can ask her what ´plc´means.

Wenn Pat Engländerin ist, kannst du sie fragen, was "plc" bedeutet.

(Pat is English).



if-clause: main clause:

simple present will-future or

modal auxiliary + infinitive



If we want to express the idea that in the same circumstances the same thing always happens, we use the simple present in both the if-clause and the main clause. Here if means the same as whenever (=jedes Mal wenn, immer wenn). We could use when instead of if in these sentences.



if-clause main-clause



If it rains heavily, the river overflows.

Wenn es stark regnet, tritt der Fluss über die Ufer.



Conditional sentence 2



Although a conditional sentence of type 2 has a verb in the simple past, it refers to the future or the present.

We think it is improbable that the condition will be fulfilled, but we imagine the consequence if the condition was fulfilled. Or we can talk about a condition that cannot be fulfilled because it is unreal.



if-clause main clause



If I got more pocket money, I could buy a computer.

Wenn ich mehr Taschengeld

bekommen würde, könnte ich einen Computer kaufen.

(It is unlikely that I will get

more pocket money).



If my paremts were ten

years younger, they might travel round the world.

Wenn meine Eltern zehn Jahre

Jünger wären, würden sie vielleicht eine Weltreise machen.

(The parents are not ten years younger.)



if-clause: main clause:

simple past would/could/might

+ infinitive



In the conditional sentence 2 we sometimes use were instead of was in the if-clause. But this happens only in formal Englsh, exept for the very common expression if I were you...



If I/he/she was in London,...

(=If I/he/she were in London,...)

Wenn ich/er/sie in London wäre,.



In the if-clause we can use not only the simple past but also other past tense forms, e.g.

the past progressive or could + infinitive.



If you were telling the truth, you´d look me straight in the eye.

Wenn du die Wahrheit sagen würdest, würdest du mir in die Augen sehen.



Conditional sentence 3



A conditional sentence of type 3 refers to the past.

We imagine a past situation which in reality did not happen because the condition was not fulfilled (unreal condition). We know that the condition is impossible, but we imagine the consequence.



if-clause main clause



If the weather had been better, we would have gone to Brighton.

Wenn das Wetter besser gewesen wäre, wären wir nach Brighton gefahren.

(In reality the weather was bad.)



If we had shouted louder, you might have heard us.

Wenn wir lauter gerufen hätten, hättet ihr uns vielleicht gehört.

(We didn´t shout loud.)



if-clause: main clause:

past perfect would/could/might + have

+ past participle

 
 
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