: Business Grammar Builder. : (.. .. )


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Unit 17 conditionals


 Conditions and results A


 Compare these sentences. The If... clause is the condition, and the other part of the sentence is the result.

1 If sales increase (generally), we make more profit.

2 If sales increase (next quarter), well make more profit.

3 If sales increased (next quarter), wed make more profit.

4 If sales increased (last quarter), the Director should be happier.

5 If sales had increased (last quarter), the Director would have been



 Sentence 1 is about something that is always true. See section below.

Sentence 2 is about something that is reasonably likely to happen in the future. See section .

Sentence 3 is about something that is imaginary or unlikely in the future. See section D.


 Sentences 4 and 5 are about the past. See unit 18.


 With all types of conditionals the If clause can come second.

Well make more profit if sales increase. Wed make more profit if sales



 If we sell... (always true) B


 When we want to talk about things that are always or generally true, we use:

If I When + present, present simple or imperative

(condition) (result)


In this type of conditional we are not referring to one specific event.

If people understand that change is necessary, they have an appetite for it.

... If you dont get the best people into the company, your product suffers.


 In the condition clause there can be a variety of present forms.

When you fly business class, you get much more legroom.

(present simple)

If interest rates are rising, bank loans become more expensive.

(present continuous)



Does the course fit in with your holiday plans?

(= be accepted without problem)

When youve finished the course, you get a certificate.

(present perfect)


In the result clause there can be a present simple (last examples) or an imperative.

When you fly business class, dont drink too much of the free alcohol.


 Notice that we can use either if or when where the meaning is every time.


 If we sell... (likely future) C


 When we want to talk about future events that will happen, or are likely to happen, we use

If + present, future or imperative

(condition) (result)


If the compromise deal fails, who knows what will happen at Equitable Life?


 In the condition clause there can be a variety of present forms.

If you increase your order, well give you a bigger discount.

(present simple)

If youre meeting her at three, Ill join you later at about four.

(present continuous)

If Ive made any mistakes, Ill correct them later.

(present perfect)

In the result clause ll is common (last examples). We can also use other future forms or an imperative.

If you increase your order, youre going to get a bigger discount.

(going to future)

If he doesnt get the job, hell have done a lot of work for nothing.

(future perfect)

If anyone from Head Office calls, say Im in a meeting.



The examples above are about two actions in the future. If the result clause refers to the present we use a present tense.

If anyone calls, Im in a meeting all morning.

If you need me, Im working in the room at the end of the corridor.


 If we sold (imaginary future)



 When we want to talk about future events that are imaginary, unlikely or impossible, we use:


Ill get back to you tomorrow.

(= telephone you again)

If + Past Simple or Continuous, would / could / might + infinitive

(condition) (result)

Outsourcing is the only solution. If we did all of his stuff ourselves, we

would have to have at least 1,000 people working here, estimates Ardai.


 In the conditional clause we can use a Past Simple or Past Continuous.

If you were still speaking after an hour, the audience would be probably bored.


 Note the past form in the condition clause, but the future time reference.


 Unless E


 Unless means the same as If... not.

Polish attitudes are dominated by the belief that unless Poland joins the

European Union, things can only get worse.


Compare these sentences which have the same meaning:

If he doesnt arrive soon, hell miss the start of the presentation.

Unless he arrives soon, hell miss the start of the presentation.



Ill get on to our suppliers right away.

(= contact)



Exercise 1 (B, C, D, E)

Underline the correct words.


1 If were / we would be late, theyll start / theyd start without us.

2 If we will take / take a taxi, well arrive / we arrive sooner.

3 If we worked / would work for ADC, well get / wed get a better salary.

4 When inflation will go / goes up, there would be / is usually pressure on salaries.

5 If we dont hurry / wont hurry, we would be / well be late.

6 If you change / are changing your mind, give me / you will give me a ring.

7 Unless you click / would click on that icon, it didnt / it wont print out.

8 If you ordered / order on the Net, we always will send / send an email confirmation.

9 If I lend / will lend you this book, when do you return / will you return it?

10 If you heard / hear anything in the next few days, let me / letting me know.


Exercise 2 (C, D)

Read these sentences and decide if the events are likely or imaginary. Complete the sentences by putting the verbs in brackets into the present simple + will or the past simple + would. Use contracted forms where possible.


1 Its not far. If you .. (follow) this road, you .. (come) to the station.

2 If I .. (be) on the Board of this company, I .. (argue) against the merger.

3 If you .. (have) any questions, I .. (deal) with them at the end of my presentation.

4 If the council .. (ban) all cars from the city centre, there .. (not be) so much pollution.

5 A: .. I have no idea what the other side are going to propose in the negotiation

...... tomorrow.

B: .. Neither do I. If I .. (know), I .. (tell) you.

6 A: .. My train leaves in forty minutes.

B: It only takes ten minutes to the station by taxi. If you .. (leave)

now, you .. (catch) it.



Ill try to get round to reading you report today.

(= find the time for)

7 A: .. Is that the time? I really should be going.

..... B: . If you .. (wait) a moment, I .. (give) you a lift.

8 A: .. Would you like to go to English evening classes with me?

B: Im sorry, but I cant. Im really busy. If I .. (have) more time, I (love)



Exercise 3 (B, C, D, E)

Paula, a marketing manager of a car manufacturing company, is talking to her colleague Luis, a production manager. Complete their conversation with the words from the list below.



wont (x2)

would (x2)

unless (x2)



dont didnt

is going to be


PAULA: Luis. Arent you worried about the proposed strike?


LUIS: Well, sure .....

PAULA: You see, if the factory workers go on strike, we (1) .. lose a lot of production. If we lose production, we (2) .. be able to supply all our customers.

LUIS: Yes, I know, but .....

PAULA: And if we (3) .. supply our customers, theyll probably buy other makes of car. If that happens, our market share (4) .. go down. Its not looking good.

LUIS: Well, thats right, but ...

PAULA: And whats more, in my experience, when workers go on strike there

(5) .. bad atmosphere for months afterwards.

LUIS: Yes.

PAULA: So, (6) .. you can come to an agreement with the workers soon, there (7) .. a lot of trouble ahead. If you want my advice, (8) .. very careful.

LUIS: Look, dont worry.

PAULA: Dont Worry?

LUIS: Yes. Look, the workers know that the success of the company depends on this new model. (9) .. theyre stupid, they (10) .. go on strike.



LUIS: Now, just imagine - if it is sold really well, we (11) .. and our profits.


I look forward to seeing you next week.

(= think ahead with pleasure)

If that happened, we (12) .. need to make so many job cuts. And if we

(13) .. have to cut jobs, the trade unions (14) .. be much happier.

PAULA: Well, I suppose youve got point.


Exercise 4 (B, C, D)

You are talking to a friend about your new job. Use your thoughts to complete the sentences verb in brackets into either the Present Simple, Past Simple, Imperative, will + infinitive or would + infinitive.


You think: People say that hard work usually results in promotion in this company.

You say: (1) They say that if you .. (work) hard, you ..... (get) promoted.

You think: I want to show them that Im good at my job so that I can have more

job security.

You say: (2) I hope that if I .. (do) my best, they .. (give) me a permanent contract after a few months.

You think: Ive been late in the morning a few times. I wish I could work at the

Leiria site which is nearer my home.

You say: (3) Im sometimes late for work. If I .. (work) at the Leiria site, it

.. (not be) such a problem.

You think: One thing worries me. I had a health problem a few years ago, but

its very unlikely that it will.

You say: (4) I wonder what .. (happen) if my health problem .. (reoccur)?

You think: Maybe its not a problem. In general they seem to be very reasonable

about unless.

You say: (5) Actually, if you .. (miss) one or two days because of illness, they .. (not seem) to mind.

You think: Goodbye. I hope Ill see you soon.

You say: (6) If you .. (fancy) a drink one evening, just .. (give) me a ring.



I cant put up with such rude behaviour.

(= tolerate)

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