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There are conditional sentences in English. We use them when: some conditions are met and there is some result or effect. During this lesson you will learn the use of “when” and “if” expressions to form conditional sentences related to the future.

Structure of conditional sentences:



Main part


I will cook you a dinner          , when I get home.

We will go for a walk              , when the rain stops.

I am going to watch a movie , when  I finish this project.

In these sentences the main part is in the future tense, but the “when-part” is in the present tense.


You can also use Present Perfect after: when/after/until/as soon as. But remember that when using Present Perfect, one action has to be completed before another can begin.


Can I come by, when you have finished  your homework?

I will call you, as soon as I have reached home.

Don’t come here, until I have settled things straight.


After “if” we normally use Present Simple for the future.


It is cold outside. We will freeze if we go out now.

I hope to play outside tomorrow if the weather is nice.

Hurry up! If we don’t hurry, we will be late.


There are situations when both Present Simple and Present Perfect can be used:



I will call you as soon as I finish work.

I will call you as soon as I have finished work.

You will feel better after you have some rest.

You will feel better after you have rested.


When to use when and if:

We use “if” for things that can possibly happen.


I’m going shopping if you want anything, I can get it for you.

If they don’t come soon, they are going to be late.

We can eat at home if you want.


We use “when” for things that are sure to happen.


The water boils when you heat it to 100 degrees Celsius.

When you don’t eat, you get hungry.

We will be tired when we will arrive.


Now you know when to use “when” and “if” expressions. You also know how to use Present Simple tense and Present Perfect tense to form conditional sentences.



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