Conditional clauses

The if clause

The if clause can occur to the left or to the right of the main clause:

if you tell me, I'll do it (with comma)

I'll do it if you tell me (without comma)

Such as Italian, if clause can be omitted. In this case, you have to invert the subject and the verb: Had I known this, I would not have called him (Lo avessi saputo, ...)

The inversion can be done only with auxiliaries (to be, to have)

Three types of if-clauses


if [present] then [future]

if you work hard, you will pass your exam

With a modal verb (can, must, may...) you don't have to use the future tense:

if you are cold you may get a flue

The main clause can contain an imperative mode instead of future tense...:

If you talk to him, do not forget to mention this

...or a continuous form:

If you tell him, he will be talking about it for ages


if [past] then [conditional] If I had a car, I would drive you there


if [past perfect] then [past conditional] If I had known this, I would not have done it


Continuous forms are always available instead of non continuous forms.

Dictionary of the day

En It Notes
tense tempo verbale
unless a meno che
provided purché