English Conditionals: Live Lesson with Lorraine and Caitlyn

Intrepid English teachers Lorraine and Caitlyn on a video call together with a dark green background

Join Intrepid English Founder Lorraine and Intrepid English Teacher Caitlyn for a fun English conditionals lesson on our YouTube channel!✨ Lorraine and Caitlyn explain the four types of conditionals, how and when to use them, and give there’s an opportunity for you to practise with some questions. Download your free downloadable cheat sheet right here and study alongside them. If you’re ready, let’s get started!

Resources mentioned in the lesson:

➡️Grab your free downloadable conditionals cheat sheet! 📃

➡️Study the Conditionals course in the Intrepid English Academy🎓

➡️Connect with Lorraine on LinkedIn

➡️Connect with Caitlyn on LinkedIn

➡️Alice Thompson

➡️Empowering Through English

➡️English as a Global Language: Consequences to National Linguistic Policy

Full transcript below:

Lorraine Venables  00:05

Hi, everyone, it’s Lorraine here, and Caitlyn. Today we are going to be talking about conditionals because the wonderful Caitlyn has created a course in the Intrepid English Academy. So today, we’re going to be talking about some sentence formations and when we use the conditional sentences, so I’ve got a special slide for us, Caitlyn. Would you like to introduce yourself to everyone?

Caitlyn Vasi  00:37

Hey, guys, I’m Caitlyn. I am an English teacher and I’m also a student. I’m studying at the Nelson Mandela University. I’m studying a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and World History. As it stays, it’s very interesting, keeps life interesting, I guess. And yeah, and I wrote the conditionals course, which I had a lot of fun with.

Lorraine Venables  01:04

Awesome! Yes, I would love to sit and talk to you about your degree,. We often get qite deep into the discussion, don’t we, Caitlyn. Today I have to remind myself, we’re talking about conditionals, not politics on this occasion, but maybe soon. Yes. Great. So for those of you who don’t know me, I’m Lorraine and I teach English here at Intrepid English and I’ve been, yeah, I’ve been teaching English online now for eight years, and teaching English in general for eleven, and I have been teaching conditionals for that entire time. So today, I’ll be teaching you some of the main things that my students find helpful when we’re talking about the conditional sentences. So to give you a little bit of context, conditional sentences are very, very common, and there are four of them. We’ll cover all four today. And we’ll talk about how you form those structures, but we’ll also talk about why you should choose between each of the conditional structures and when to use them.

So let’s get started. Let’s start with the usage. So we use the zero conditional for situations that are always true if something happens. So, this is often used in science and other instructions. When something happens, something else always happens. Okay, so how do we make this conditional sentence? We use the present simple in the if clause, followed by a comma. And then in the result clause, we use the present simple as well. So that’s easy. Present simple, present simple. For example, “If I am late, I call a taxi.” You can see there’s a comma there because if we put the if clause first, we need a comma separating the clauses. You can also put the result clause first. So you just switch the clauses around. And if you put the result clause first, you don’t need a comma. So here’s another example sentence for you, with the result clause first, “He doesn’t mind if Sam cycles home from school.” There’s no comma there, okay. So that’s an example of a negative of the zero conditional.

Okay, so there are some alternatives to ‘if’. You can say ‘when’. It’s quite common to use ‘when’ instead of ‘if’ when you’re talking in the zero conditional. So, “When I am late, I call a taxi” rather than “If I am late, I call a taxi.” Both are fine. It’s the same meaning. Okay, so we’ve got a few example sentences there for the zero conditional. Anyone have any questions? I am just checking the chat box there. Nothing so far. Some interesting messages from YouTube, but no messages from anyone watching, so we can move on to the first conditional. Caitlyn, do you want to take this one while I have a sip of my wine?

Caitlyn Vasi  04:27

Okay. So the usage for the first conditional, often called ‘the real conditional’, is because it is used for the real possible or likely situations in the future. These situations take place if a certain condition is met. Okay, so, the if clause consists of the present simple, and the result clause consists of future simple. So an example of this would be, “If the weather gets worse, our flight will be cancelled.” And then, as you already explained the common usage, but I will just go over that again. So you can also put the result clause first without using a comma between the clauses. The result clause would be, “I will feel energetic if I take my vitamins every day.”

Lorraine Venables  05:17

So just to recap, then. The zero conditional, we would use that if something always happens, okay. So if I am late, or when I am late, I call a taxi. So that always, always happens that way. Okay. With the first conditional, you can talk about something which happens all the time, but you’re focusing on the present and the future there. So it’s not so much talking about something which is generally true. That’s the zero conditional, where we use that one. And with the first conditional, we’re talking about something which is going to happen today maybe, or in the future, at some point.

Okay. So, I really like to teach the alternatives to ‘if’ so that students can have a variety of different options available to them, so they don’t always have to rely on ‘if’. So one really good alternative is, if you’re going to say, ‘if not’, you might want to consider saying ‘unless’. Yeah, So “If he doesn’t hurry up…” would mean “Unless he hurries up…” Okay, there’s some other alternatives here as well. So we’ve got ‘as long as’, ‘in case’, or ‘as soon as’. Do you want to read that one for us, Caitlyn?

Caitlyn Vasi  06:39

So the example here is, “Unless there’s a storm, our hike will continue tomorrow.”

Lorraine Venables  06:45

I loved your examples here. Do you want to take this one?

Caitlyn Vasi  06:49

Yeah. Okay, so, we can use the first conditional to negotiate. We do this all the time in our daily lives. We decide on a particular restaurant for dinner, strike a deal in a business meeting, or to settle a disagreement. For example, “If I cook dinner, will you wash the dishes?” “Will you walk the dogs if I clean the kitchen?”

Lorraine Venables  07:13

Awesome examples there. I’m going to try the first example later. I don’t have any dogs, unfortunately, so I can’t try the second one, but one day.

Caitlyn Vasi  07:24

When I went on a trip, like two weeks ago, there were five of us when I went with my friends, and we had to negotiate the whole time because we all wanted to do certain things. So it was basically, like, if I chose the breakfast spot, then you can choose the dinner spot. So yeah, negotiating comes in handy guys.

Lorraine Venables  07:44

Yeah, it’s amazing how often we negotiate without really realising it. A lot of my students, business English students, they’ll say, you know, “Oh, I don’t really negotiate. I don’t know how to negotiate.” And I say, “Well, you know, have you ever tried to convince someone that your idea is better than their idea?” That’s totally negotiating!

Caitlyn Vasi  08:07

Yeah, definitely.

Lorraine Venables  08:10

Right, second conditional. So this is one that many students find hard. So these are getting progressively harder now for a lot of students. So, when do we use the second conditional? The usage is really important here, because we use a second conditional to talk about unreal situations in the present or future. And it’s called ‘unreal’, because we use it to talk about anything from unlikely to improbable to impossible. So this covers a whole range of different situations, okay. You might use the second conditional to talk about something that you’re really not that sure it’s going to happen. But you might use the second conditional to talk about something which is actually impossible, and I’ll come back to this later, but it’s talking about the present and the future.

So the third conditional, the one we’ll cover next, that talks about imaginary situations in the past. But this one talks about imaginary, impossible or unlikely situations in the present or future. Okay. Now, that can be quite confusing for people because in the if clause, we use the past simple, but we’re not talking about the past. So that’s what’s confusing for a lot of people. Let’s take a look at this example here. “If I had extra money, I would buy a house.” Although we’re using ‘had’, which is the past simple, we’re not talking about the past. We’re talking about a hypothetical situation. If I had extra money, I would buy a house but I don’t, so I can’t buy a house.

Okay. Again with the commas. You can put the if clause first with a comma, or you can put the result clause first, and there’s no need for a comma. Okay, here’s a really good example as well, “I would learn another language if I had more time.” I hear this all the time from students. All the time. Okay, and one thing that a lot of people get wrong here is that they put ‘would’ in the if clause. Okay, so let’s switch these around. “If I had more time, I would learn another language.” Not, as many people say, “If I would have more time, I would learn another language.” We’ve got too many ‘would’s there. So one thing that helps my students is when I remind them, if they put the result clause first, and they use ‘would’, they’ve used the word ‘would’ in that conditional, and they don’t need to use it again. And that helps them to try and remove it from the if clause.

Caitlyn Vasi  10:50

Just to add on with the second conditional, also when writing the second conditional, because we’re so different from what I actually study. So I studied like, facts and theories, and we’re not really allowed to use our imagination. So it was so different, to like think outside the box, and like try and come up with different examples for this, and in the course, we actually have a TedED video, because it actually explains, like the use and the power of imagination. For example, like, we can predict the future through imagination, and we can relive the past. And without imagination, there actually wouldn’t be a point of having empathy. There would be no room for that. So yeah, I like I like the second conditional.

Lorraine Venables  11:41

Ooh. Interesting. Yeah. That’s awesome. Yes, yeah. And I really like the way that you approach that as well. You know, you’re often talking about facts and scientific statistics and figures and things. But it’s so, so important that we explore alternatives, right? If if this could be different, and what would happen? Because that is absolutely a part of, sort of, scientific discovery and exploration, isn’t it? But it’s also a part of language. If I use this clause, then I can use that. Or, if I used to that clause, could I use this? You know, you can really explore different opportunities and alternatives that way. Awesome.

So the verb ‘to be’ when using the second conditional should be conjugated as ‘were’. So for a long time, the rule was, when we’re using the second conditional, we should use ‘were’ okay. For example, “If I were you, I would quit smoking” or “I would quit smoking if I were you.” But more and more people say ‘was’ now. So it’s still in that sort of, difficult grey area between what used to be correct and what is now correct. So it’s becoming more common to hear people say ‘was’, but grammatically, especially in writing, it’s better to use ‘were’ if you can. More and more people are saying that. To me, it seems a bit strange, but it’s becoming correct in a way that language does. It’s evolving. So it’s worth mentioning there. Try to stick to ‘were’.

Caitlyn Vasi  13:22

Yeah, it sounds better.

Lorraine Venables  13:25

So it’s a really nice example that you provided here, Caitlyn. “If all resources were equally shared, we would be able to meet the planet’s needs.” Okay, do you want to take this one?

Caitlyn Vasi  13:37

You can also use ‘could’ in the if clause. The verb that follows ‘could’ will be in the infinitive form, not the past simple. For example, “I could receive a promotion if I worked harder.” “If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you meet?” Ahh, what about that last one. Yeah, yeah. Good question.

Lorraine Venables  13:58

Huh? Who would you meet Caitlyn? If you could meet anyone in the world. Dead or alive.

Caitlyn Vasi  14:04

I was just about to ask that, dead or alive? I know this is gonna be quite a cliche, but I think Nelson Mandela, and Steve Biko.

Lorraine Venables  14:19

I knew you’d say them! You’re going to Nelson Mandela University, aren’t you? So I mean, you see his name all the time, but even still, that would be my choice too, though. And I don’t go to Nelson Mandela University.

Caitlyn Vasi  14:37

Yeah. I was trying not to be predictable.

Lorraine Venables  14:40

Why? Why, then? 

Caitlyn Vasi  14:41

Okay. So, so many reasons. I think I just want to know, like, what actually happened when he was in Robben Island, when he was in prison for about twenty seven years, I think. Like, I want to know what went through his mind then. Because actually one of the people you mentioned to me, I think it was… his name’s Dr. Alexandre Neville, talking about Alexandre, right.? Neville Alexander, that’s him. Yeah, so, in his writing, he actually said that when they were in prison, they learned about democracy. So there was so many disagreements, but that they still were able to disagree with each other and still respect each other, at the end of the day. So that’s where the democracy actually started in South Africa, because those were our future leaders. So it actually started in a place that was supposed to oppress them. That’s where it actually started. So to think about that, I actually want to know, like, what actually, like, went through their minds. So Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, who basically redefined the Black identity here in South Africa, and also Mother Teresa. I really want to meet Mother Teresa. I mean, who wouldn’t? And you?

Lorraine Venables  16:01

Well, yeah, I would say Nelson Mandela as well. But also, Harriet Tubman. Oh, what an absolute legend. So, when I was reading –  fun fact here – when I was reading Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, I was reading it in his voice, and I was so happy with that. It was so calming. My internal monologue was in his accent and it was so lovely.

Caitlyn Vasi  16:32

Why do you want to meet Nelson Mandela?

Lorraine Venables  16:36

Because I would like to know how he remained so gracious in the face of so much systemic racism, but like, really individually attacking… Like, the wardens, for example, in Robben Island. How can you stay so gracious and be… It’s like Gandhi in a way, you know? How can you…? How can you receive so much hatred and aggression and stay so gracious and forgiving? Blows my mind, it blows my mind, because I would like to be that gracious, but honestly, I probably wouldn’t be able to be. So I’d love to know. Also, you know, he was genuinely quite a funny person. So I think in a dinner party, having Nelson Mandela there would be pretty awesome. Everyone would just be like, “Tell me more!”

Caitlyn Vasi  17:33

Definitely, yeah. Definitely.

Lorraine Venables  17:35

I certainly would be anyway.

Caitlyn Vasi  17:37

Yeah. I think in my first year, when I studied sociology, we went in depth about Nelson Mandela and just his role, and we just discovered that he made so many sacrifices, just in terms of his family, so we learned that he gave up, for example, his family role as a type of father figure and became father figure for the whole nation. And we don’t actually learn about that. We always, like, we just seem as an icon, but we don’t actually go in depth about all of the sacrifices that he had to make, not just about, like becoming president and all the political stuff behind it, but also the personal stuff. But I mean, obviously, a lot of that is in the biography. I read that for the first time in my first year. Ah, mind blowing! So good.

Lorraine Venables  18:28

Yeah. Yeah, and when you add to that, like, obviously, being the leader of a country is extremely difficult and must be extremely stressful. Add to that the pressure of not being able to make any wrong moves, not make any mistakes, because of all the people who would be ‘proven right’. Obviously not, but you know, it would just be such a pressure-filled situation to be in, like it just absolutely baffles me. But what an incredible job that they did for so many years as well, and to keep inspiring generation after generation. I couldn’t imagine a world where he weren’t, I’m trying to use the conditional! I can’t imagine a world where he weren’t there, because he’s had such a massive impact on so many, many things, not just in South Africa, but all over the world. All right. There’s a tendency for us to get really deep into the chat, isn’t there, Caitlyn? So yeah, moving swiftly on.

Caitlyn Vasi  19:38

Yeah, so the usage for third conditional. Use the third conditional to talk about a situation from the past that did not happen. Conditional three is sometimes called ‘the past conditional’ because it concerns only past situations with hypothetical results. It is used to express a hypothetical result to a past situation. So the if clause consists of past perfect, and the result clause consists of would + have and past participle. For example, “If I had studied, I would have passed the exam.” I actually wrote all of these examples, like, when all my uni work was heightened, and I was just like that pressure was just like, okay, let me make examples out of those. So at least that worked out.

Lorraine Venables  20:27

What a great way of looking at it. At least I’ll get some really good example sentences. Wonderful. Okay, lovely. Can you read this example sentence for me as well?

Caitlyn Vasi  20:38

Yeah. So just to remind, you can also put the result clause first without using a comma between the clauses. For example, “I wouldn’t have been stressed if I had created a study plan.”

Lorraine Venables  20:52

Were you also stressed and thinking this at that time?

Caitlyn Vasi  20:55

Yeah, yeah.

Lorraine Venables  20:56

I’d be feeling a lot better right now…

Caitlyn Vasi  20:59

I am, I am. Now that I’ve got my marks and everything, I’m feeling a bit more at ease about it.

Lorraine Venables  21:05

Yay! All right, awesome. So I wanted to mention as well, so we can use a third conditional to imagine different past situations with a different past result. I know I keep mentioning past, but it’s very important to remember that it’s all happening in the past. Okay. And it’s all hypothetical. Things didn’t happen that way, so this is why we use the third conditional. We can use it to rewrite history. I really liked that you put that there, Caitlyn. I really like that. “If there weren’t so much traffic this morning, I would have been on time.” Okay. You can see here ‘weren’t’ instead of ‘wasn’t’. Traffic is an uncountable noun, so we often use ‘was’ with traffic, but here because it’s the third conditional, second, and third conditional we use ‘weren’t’. Okay. An excellent example here, “If colonialism had never existed, English wouldn’t have become so widespread.” Controversial.

Caitlyn Vasi  22:07

Yeah, yeah. For the example, I know that you and I spoke about the spread of English, because of colonialism, and all of that. So I was actually reading quite a bit, I mean, I won’t go in depth about it right now. But I actually read quite a bit about English and just the spread of it, and I had to study the power of English in history, because one of my professors just explained to us how colonialism actually started. And the forms that they went through, so it was through religion, and through the language practices and all of that. And usually, before this year, they always skip through that. So that’s very interesting to learn about that a bit in depth. Yeah, just wanted to throw that in there. And also, okay, I’ll leave this for another day, but also wanted to throw in about mobilisation and the impact of that on education. But I’ll leave that for another day. I’ll leave that for another day.

Lorraine Venables  23:20

So many side note, so many side notes. Yeah, we need more in our education system about colonialism. You know, that’s indisputable. It’s absolutely the case that we need more. And actually, I was thinking about maybe the essay that I shared with you. I think I might add that as a research paper on my LinkedIn profile, someone I was talking to recently, we were discussing this and they were like, “Why isn’t this available for the public?” I’m gonna do that. I will, I will. I’m gonna do that. And I am going to include a link to that in the episode notes. 

Caitlyn Vasi  24:04

Yeah, yes!

Lorraine Venables  24:06

I know what I’m doing with this live stream, haha. Alright, so one thing that is really super important to know, not only how to make conditionals, but also, when do you use the zero conditional or the first conditional? A lot of students are quite confused about this. So I added some questions that you can ask yourself. The first one is, does this always happen if a condition is met? If yes, then you need the zero conditional. Okay. Let’s take an example. If I warm water to 100 degrees, it boils. Okay. Does this always happen? Yes, it’s not possible to heat water to 100 degrees without it boiling. It’s always the way that it works. So we use the zero conditional because it always happens.

The other question is, how likely is this situation? If it’s very likely, but not always the case, then we would use the first conditional or conditional one. If this situation is possible, but improbable, or if you ask yourself, is this situation possible? And the answer is no, no it’s impossible, then we need conditional two, or second conditional. And finally, am I talking about imaginary past situations here? If so, we need the third conditional.

So you can see here, we’re moving from the zero conditional where something always happens if a condition is met. And then it becomes less and less likely until we get to the third conditional where it’s a hypothetical past situation. So it can’t be different. It didn’t happen that way., and we can’t go back in time and change it, so we need the third conditional. So keeping those in mind, I’ve created some scenarios here that will help people to understand.

Caitlyn Vasi  26:10

Those questions are so good. 

Lorraine Venables  26:11

So imagine a situation here. Do you like these? Thank you. Thank you so much. So scenario one, a girl might ask her dad, “Dad, what happens when it rains?” She’s asking him about a situation which is always true. Okay. Does this happen if a condition is met? Is this generally true? Yes. So the condition is zero. Okay, zero conditional. When it rains, I give you my umbrella. So remember, it’s the present simple in the if clause and present simple in the result clause. Right. Let’s take a look at the question again. “Dad, what happens when it rains?” “When it rains, I give you my umbrella.” You would choose this arrow conditional because it always is true. Okay, next scenario. “Mum, I think it will rain today. But I don’t have my umbrella.” Okay, “I think it will…” So we’re talking about something which is very likely, so what kind of conditional would we use for likely? 

Caitlyn Vasi  26:31


Lorraine Venables  26:47

If it rains, I will give you my umbrella. First! Excellent. So this sentence is talking about today only, not every day, not every time, then we would need the zero conditional. But this is very likely, okay, usually is the case, so we use the first conditional. And we form the first conditional with the present simple in the if clause and future simple in the result clause. Okay, I don’t want to take over too much here. Do you want to carry on Caitlyn?

Caitlyn Vasi  27:56

Yeah, sure. Okay, so scenario three. “I’ve forgotten my umbrella. I think I’ll be okay though. The weather forecast says it will be sunny all day.”

Lorraine Venables  27:58

Okay, so what are the chances of you needing an umbrella if it’s really super sunny? Yeah. Not really. You don’t really need it.

Caitlyn Vasi  28:21

Actually I haven’t seen an umbrella very long time. I don’t know if it’s just a South African thing, but like, we don’t really use umbrellas here. It’s actually strange. When I read through, I was going through the examples, I was like, I actually haven’t seen an umbrella in so long. I don’t think I’ve actually ever owned an umbrella. Like it’s actually strange, now that I’m saying this out loud. Like, we don’t really use umbrellas here. I think we just go outside and hope for the best. But yeah, yeah, we don’t really use umbrellas.

Lorraine Venables  28:54

I have an umbrella in like, every bag that I take with me. There’s always an umbrella in there. I mean, I live in Britain, there’s pretty much… I mean, like, I’m using the zero and the first conditional when I’m talking about umbrellas. The second conditional and third conditional, they don’t even get a look in.

Caitlyn Vasi  29:10

Nice! That was good. Yeah, okay. “If it rained, I would give you my umbrella.” You might say this on a sunny day, when there’s very little chance of rain. It probably won’t rain, so we use the second conditional. So the if clause consists of past simple and the result clause consists of would + verb.

Lorraine Venables  29:33

So, right, here we go. Scenario four. Now remember, when we’re talking about the third conditional, we’re talking about a hypothetical past situation. So here’s a scenario. “I’ve just found my umbrella. I must have forgotten to pack it. I’m lucky it didn’t rain.” So we’re talking about after a holiday or after a trip, you come home and you remember, “There’s my umbrella, I didn’t pack it!” But it’s okay because if it had rained, I would have given you my umbrella. But it didn’t rain, so I didn’t need to.

Okay, we’re talking about a past hypothetical situation. You can’t go back in time. The situation already happened, and it happened differently. So we need the third conditional here, which is formed with the past perfect in the if clause, and then in the result clause we have would + have + past participle. Okay. So some people might be thinking is that the past perfect or the present perfect? So whether we’re talking in the first, second or third person, it’s always would + have + the past participle, not ‘has’ or ‘had’.

Okay, so let’s get some practice. Complete this sentence. So I’ll give the the audience a chance to think about their answers here. ‘If I have time this weekend, …’ Now, we can see that the if clause contains the present simple. And it’s talking about the future time – ‘this weekend’. So what tense do we need in the result clause? Just pause there for a second to give everyone a chance to think about their answer.

Caitlyn Vasi  31:30

If I have time this weekend, I will go to the cinema. We can see that the if clause contains present simple, and it’s talking about a future time, so we need a future tense in the result.

Lorraine Venables  31:43

What will you do this weekend if you have free time? 

Caitlyn Vasi  31:47

Well, this weekend is Christmas. This weekend coming. So, oh man, I have so much Christmas shopping to do still, which is ridiculous. Christmas shopping is not for the light-hearted. I’m just gonna put it out there. It is not. Yeah. But yeah, that’s probably what I should do. I will go… no, I will go, probably to visit my family hopefully. I have time. I can. Yeah, yeah. And you? If you have time this weekend?

Lorraine Venables  32:27

If I have time this weekend, I will sit back, relax, and do nothing. But the likelihood is I won’t have time this weekend. Yeah, no, I’m going to spend Christmas with my partner’s family and there are small children there, so it’s going to be chaotic, but I can’t wait. It’s going to be amazing. I love it. Christmas is definitely designed for kids of that age, I think. My nieces and nephews are old enough now that they have a full itemised shopping list for me when like, November comes around, they’re like, “Well, here’s my Christmas list…” I’m like “Okay, then. Organised!” But you know, it’s great because it takes the guesswork out of it. Yeah, I like that a lot.

Okay, practice number two. Think about what conditional would be appropriate here. So, “If I won the lottery…” Okay, the if clause contains the past simple. So what tense do we need in the result clause? Have a think about it, and then think about your own way of finishing that sentence. Okay, do you want to take the answer?

Caitlyn Vasi  33:55

Yeah. If I won the lottery, I would travel around the world. Yeah, I think that that’s a a decent answer. If you have all that money to travel, seems pretty decent. Yeah. Would you travel?

Lorraine Venables  34:13

Oh, yes. I mean, I like to think I have travelled a little bit, but if I won the lottery, I would travel around the world and meet every single one of my students.

Caitlyn Vasi  34:26

Ah, yeah. That’s great.

Lorraine Venables  34:31

Yeah, I would love that.

Caitlyn Vasi  34:33

I was actually, when I was going this, I was actually trying to think of a different answer for that, because even when I was writing the course, like that was the only thing that came to mind. And even, I read a couple of articles that people were just saying that they would travel, and also a couple of people mentioned that they would invest it, which I guess is also kind of a good thing.

Lorraine Venables  34:58

I’m a very much a ‘live in the now’ kind of person like, investment’s cool and Ishould probably invest. If I won the lottery, I should probably invest in. I would invest what’s left.

Caitlyn Vasi  35:10


Lorraine Venables  35:11

I travelled the world and visited every single one of my students, because I am lucky enough to have the world’s best English students. So yeah, obviously, if I could, I would go and visit all of them. And I’ve learned so much about their cultures and, you know, their neighbourhoods even, and their communities. I want to experience that. I don’t just want to hear about it. I’d love to immerse myself in it. What would you do? What would be the first thing that you’d do if you won the lottery?

Caitlyn Vasi  35:42

Okay, the first thing that comes to mind is probably. So, here in South Africa, when you’re driving, like just taking a quick drive, you always see, like, people standing at the roadworks, or just homeless people saying different areas. So if I could, I would just open up my own business and employ everyone so they can make some sort of income. Yeah, I think I would want to do something like that. If I could, just take every single person.

Lorraine Venables  36:14

Well thanks for making me look bad, Caitlyn. I’m joking! That’s so sweet, and absolutely 100% a Caitlyn answer. I just want to, I just want to spread it, and look after everybody, give them a job. You know, fun fact here for you. One of my friends/mentors is a lady called Alice Thompson. If anyone’s watching this and hasn’t seen Alice Thompson on any of my feeds, then please, please check her out. She actually co-founded a wonderful initiative called Social Bite, which does exactly what you just described, it employs people who are experiencing homelessness. And really, it’s just, such a massive institution here in Edinburgh now. Everybody knows about it. And there are so many amazing charitable events that go on, like sleep in the park, where people sleep in the park to raise awareness of homelessness and to raise money for various causes related to homelessness. So, yeah, so she’s my Pete, you’re Pete. 

Caitlyn Vasi  37:29

Brilliant, yeah, that’s so cool. 

Lorraine Venables  37:31

I’m gonna add some links in the episode. I always do this in live events, I’m like “I’m adding links in the episode notes” for people to check these awesome causes. Oh, and one other thing. We also donate 2% of our sales to youth homelessness charity called centrepoint, as well. I’m also going to add the link in the episode notes. 

Caitlyn Vasi  37:55

Yeah. Yeah, that’s brilliant.

Lorraine Venables  38:03

All right, let’s, let’s finish up with a third practice before we close up today, then Caitlyn. So, complete the sentence with the correct conditional structure. So I’ve put the result clause first this time, just to mix things up a little bit. And you’ll notice there’s no comma there because the if clause is going second. So. “…… If I had studied harder at school.” So we can see that the if clause contains the past perfect. So what tense do we need in the result clause, which is first in this scenario? Okay, have a think about that. I mean, the possibilities are endless, aren’t they, Caitlyn?

Caitlyn Vasi  38:53


Lorraine Venables  38:54

But one of them, we thought about. “I would have got my degree if I had studied harder at school.” So ‘got’, that’s British English. If you are a speaker of American English, they tend to say ‘gotten.’ Their past participle of ‘get’ is ‘gotten’. So in Britain, we say get-got-got. And in American English, they say get-got-gotten. So the answer for them would be ‘gotten’ but because I’m British, I put, ‘I would have got my degree if I had studied harder at school.’ Okay.

One thing I always think about with the third conditional as well, is if you’re trying to remember which conditional it is, think to yourself, but if things had been different, what would the result be? So, I would have gotten my degree if I had studied harder at school, but I didn’t, so I didn’t get my degree, and that helps you remember that the conditional you’re using is the third conditional.

Thank you for joining us today. I hope you enjoyed this very brief overview of the conditionals. If you are interested in learning more, please have a look at the Intrepid English website, where you will find Caitlyn’s wonderful Conditionals Course, and book a lesson with a teacher who will help you practise this in conversation. We get a lot of students who have done the course, or have worked through our downloadable eBooks, and they understand the theory of conditionals but in conversation they find it very hard to apply what they’ve learned. So it’s really helpful to have a lesson with a teacher.

Caitlyn Vasi  40:46

Yeah, so the conditionals course is based, well aimed at, helping students to express themselves more and confidently doing so. That’s why we’ve made a lot of activities based on real life examples, which is very important to us, to bring in real life example so student can adapt that in their own environment. Yeah.

Lorraine Venables  41:17

Yeah, real world experiences, it’s so important to practise those. And I always say to students who are finding it hard to remember what they’ve learned or apply what they’ve learned in conversation, I always tell them to try and write example sentences using the new grammar structures that are based around the kinds of situations that they have day by day. If you do that, then there’s a much greater chance that you’ll be able to use it, and therefore remember it. So write some example sentences for each of these conditionals, and practise them several times and try to use them in conversation. And very soon, you won’t have to think about it quite so much. That’s the trick.

All right. I think that’s us for today. Thank you so much for joining me, Caitlyn. And thank you so much to everyone who has joined us today live. I look forward to answering any questions. So if anyone has anything that they’d like to add, or ask us about, they can just go to the Intrepid English website, and there’s a chat box at the bottom right-hand corner of every screen. So just click on that, and type your message and then one of us will get back to you as soon as we can. So from everyone at Intrepid English, I’d like to say thank you very much and goodbye. Thanks. Bye Caitlyn!

Caitlyn Vasi  42:40


Lorraine Venables  42:47

Did you want to say something? 

Caitlyn Vasi  42:49

Oh, no, I just wanted to say that was a great way to put it, to distinguish between the different ones. That was a great way to put it.

Lorraine Venables  42:58

Thank you, darling. We don’t need an audience.

Caitlyn Vasi  43:03

Yeah, I know!

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