This is Part 3 in our series on The First Conditional. We suggest you make sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 before watching the video below.
This is our third look at the first conditional. Today, we’ll be looking at results with modal verbs.
In Part 1, we looked at the two basic structures of the first conditional (as you can see here). Today, we’re going to be looking at the other modal verbs you can use instead of will.
The modal verbs most often used with the first conditional are: will, can, could, may, and might. Generally speaking, we avoid using would, can’t, and must because they can cause some confusion.
Let’s look at some examples:
- If you call the Help Centre, they may be able to help you.
- If you call the Help Centre, they might be able to help you.
May is a little more optimistic than might.
- If I get a tattoo, I may/might regret it later.
- If he doesn’t kiss her now, he mightn’t get the chance again! (Go on! Kiss her!)
- If I take that job in the Philippines, we could actually afford to buy a house!
- If you ever visit Seoul, you should check out the Gangnam area. It’s really cool!
- If you buy an Oyster Card, you can use it on both the subway and the bus.
You can also say:
- If you buy an Oyster Card, you’ll be able to use it on both the subway and the bus.
We tend to avoid using can’t in the first conditional. Instead, we use won’t be able to:
- If you drive into the city center, you won’t be able to find a parking spot.
It’s also a little strange to use must in the first conditional. Instead, we use will have to:
- If we get you a dog, you’ll have to take it for a walk every day.
OK, it’s practice time again! Try to use these structures to make your own sentences in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.
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