The Conditionals: Alternatives

Now that we have covered all the possible options related to the usage of the conditionals, we can start toying with them and check some of the alternatives related to formulating our conditional sentences. But, why, you may ask?

Well, first of all, there are cases when we tend to sound repetitive, so the easiest thing to do there would be to use a synonym or an alternative to mix things up a bit. By doing so, we will be perceived as more knowledgeable and not sound like a broken record. At the same time, we will also sound more formal, which is the second most prominent reason why we need to provide ourselves with options in any conditional case scenario.

The default Zero conditional construction begins with an IF at the start of the condition we are talking about:

  • IF Daca attends her English class, she sings.

Since Daca is famous for her singing skills and we know that she will sing upon joining every single time (we love her), we can change this Zero conditional sentence to:

  • WHEN Daca attends her English class, she sings.

or even:

  • WHENEVER Daca attends her English class, she sings.

On the other hand, if we want to talk about future events that still haven’t happened, we can use the First conditional here:

  • IF Sara joins the class, she will sing.

… and even make the same changes as with the Zero conditional:

  • WHEN Sara joins the class, she will sing.

And if Sara promises that she will have this singing thing going from now on (we dare her), we can even say:

  • WHENEVER Sara joins the class, she will sing.

- AS LONG AS Ana attends her English classes regularly, Sreten does not mention her in the newsletters.
- IN CASE Marija forgets to remind Daca to sing, the whole group will send the reminder instead.
- PROVIDED THAT Valerija stops using her favorite bywords, Sreten is going to stop nagging.
- SUPPOSING Tamara had skipped a class, Sreten would have been absolutely shocked.
- EVEN IF Jelena had broken her other arm as well, she would still attend her classes.
- WHETHER OR NOT Milena manages to finish her homework, Sreten will send her more.
- UNLESS Milica’s Toby joins the next class, Sreten will be sad. And will give her some homework. Go dogs!

The last but most certainly not least of all the possible alternatives to using conditionals is inversion whose main point lies in being used in formal speech. Simply imagine that you are writing a business email and you are trying to avoid repetition or to sound more eloquent. With inversion — this is your chance to shine!

The first example is connected to the First conditional and ending emails. Notice the alternative at the beginning of the sentence:

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

The second example is to do with the Second conditional:

If you sent me the information, I would greatly appreciate it.
Were you to send me the information, I would greatly appreciate it.

Lastly, we can even change how we construct the Third conditional:

If they had informed me in a timely manner, I could have attended the conference.
Had they informed me in a timely manner, I could have attended the conference.

Still not sure how to use these alternatives and inversion? Have no fear — exercises are here!

With this newsletter, we are bringing this lengthy discussion on conditionals to a close; and, hopefully, you have now gained deeper insight into the idea behind this grammatical lesson.

Till next week,

Take care!

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