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Zero Conditional Sentences

The zero conditional is used to refer to conditions which are always true. So, if water reaches 100 degrees, it always boils. It’s a fact. We are talking in general, not about one particular situation.

In zero conditional sentences, the word “if” can usually be replaced by the word “when” without changing the meaning.

1. Use

The result is always fulfilled when the condition which is given in the if-clause happens.

2. Form

if clause main clause
Present Simple, Present Simple.

3. Examples

if clause main clause
If you heat ice, it melts.
If it rains the grass gets wet.
If I am late for work, my boss gets angry.

The if-clause can be at the beginning or at the end of a sentence.

if clause main clause
If I am late for work, my boss gets angry.

 

main clause if clause
My boss gets angry If I am late for work.
 
Because of the certainty you can replace “if” with “when”
 
if clause main clause
When I am late for work, my boss gets angry.

4. Zero Conditional and First Conditional

The zero conditional describes what happens in general whereas the first conditional describes a particular situation.

For example (zero conditional): If you touch fire, you get burned (here I’m talking about every time a person touches fire – the burning is a natural consequence of touching).

But (first conditional): If you the fire, you’ll get burned (here I’m talking about what will happen with this specific fire).