There are a few ways to use “if” in English. Let’s look at these today!
#1 Talking about possibility
When we talk about possibility, we can use if. Look at this situation. Jane lost her wallet. She thinks it may be at her sister’s house, so she talks to her sister. Jane’s sister thinks that finding jane’s wallet is is possible, so she uses “if.”
- Jane: I think I left my wallet at your house. Have you seen it?
- Sister: No, I haven’t, but I will check. If I find it, I will tell you.
The structure is: If + [present verb], will + [present verb]. Here are some more examples:
- If it rains tomorrow, I will stay home.
- If Macy’s has sale, I will buy a new dress.
#2 Imagining a situation
We can also use “if” when we imagine a situation. Here, Jane is imaging a situation. The situation is she finds a wallet on the street. She imagines her action:
- Jane: If I found a wallet on the street, I would bring it to the police station.
The structure is: If + [past verb], would + [present verb] Here are some more examples:
- If I won the lotto, I would buy a yacht.
- If I were the company president, I would give all of the employees a day off on their birthday..
#3 Giving Advice
When we give someone advice, we can imagine what we would do in their situation. For example, my friend Jack has been ill for a week. I can imagine being ill for a week too.
- If I were ill for a week, I would go to the doctor.
The structure is like #2: If + [past verb], would + [present verb] Here are some more examples:
- Having a car is convenient. If I were you, I would learn to drive.
- You are having a problem at work? If I were you, I would talk to the boss about it
What would you do if you were ill for a week? What would you do if you won the lottery?