First Conditional


If you are an ESL/EFL teacher, and want to revise the first conditional with your students, then you can use this grammar lesson which will give you some presentation and practice ideas. If you are a student who wants to improve your English, then this lesson is also perfect for you. You will find the answers on the last page of the downloadable lesson.

Grammar Presentation

These are things which are possible,

and it's VERY PROBABLE that they will happen.

The grammar structure for the first conditional is:

If + Present Form + Future Form

but within this there can be many variations i.e. present simple, present continuous, present perfect, will, can, must, going to and future perfect. Here are some examples of how these are used.

If + Present (simple) + Future (will)
you fly with Ryanair,
you water the grass,
you give me chocolate,
you will not get any food.
it will grow.
I will eat it.
If + Present (continuous) + Future (can, must)
she's not feeling well,
she's having a shower,
she must go to the doctor.
she can call me later.
If + Present (perfect) + Future (going to)
she hasn't washed the dishes,
he hasn't killed that spider,
I'm going to have a few words to say!
she's going to get a fright.
If + Present (simple) + Future (perfect)
it rains,
the teacher is sick,
we will have come for nothing.
I will have wasted my time.
Future + if + Present (simple)
You will miss the sales
I'm going to tell her
you don't go today.
you don't.

(we don't usually use a comma if the 'IF' clause is in the second part of the sentence)

Controlled Practice of the First Conditional

Change the form of the verb to make first conditional sentences. Sometimes there is more than one correct answer. Write as many sentences as you can. You will find the answers in the downloadable lesson plan at the end of this page.

  1. She .................... (give) you a ring if you .................... (need) any advice.
  2. I ...................... (make it) if the meeting .........................(be) on Monday.
  3. If you ....................(want) cake, you ............................ (bake) it.
  4. You ...........................(take) a taxi if you ....................... (miss) the bus.
  5. If it ......................(be) sunny, we ...................... (bring) our raincoats for nothing.
  6. If you ..........................(go) to Paris, you ..........................(see) the Eiffel Tower.
  7. If you ............................ (think) positively, you .............................(succeed).
  8. If you .......................... (give) me the money, I ........................ (buy) a car.

Free Practice

Here are some ‘Tips of the week’ published in THE WEEK. Distribute them to the students. They have to read through their tips, change as many as the points to first conditional sentences, and then tell the other students about it.

Tips of the week......household chores

  • For fast defrosting, seal the item in a freezer bag and put it in a bowl of cold water. A chicken will take just half an hour.
  • To stop stains and grease building up in your oven, but a bowl of boiling water inside after use. Once the water has cooled, the surfaces can be wiped clean in seconds.
  • Before painting, always run your hand through the brush a few times to get rid of loose hairs.
  • If something stinks up your microwave, pop a lemon inside after use and microwave it for a minute.
  • To save having to clean paint trays, line them with cling film before each use.
  • Polish taps with fresh lemon juice mixed with a teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda.

Tips of the to play road tennis

First played in Barbados in the 1930’s, road tennis – “table tennis without the table” – is great fun, good exercise, and you can play it almost anywhere. Here’s how to get started.

  • The playing surface can be just about anywhere – indoors or out – provided it’s hard and flat.
  • Using chalk, or better still tape, mark out a court measuring 6x3m. The ‘net’ can be made of anything (plywood is customary) and must stand 20cm tall.
  • Bats are basically table tennis bats but without the rubber – again, anything similarly sized and shaped will do.
  • For the ball, tear the fur off a tennis ball, and prick it to deflate it – this reduces the bounce.
  • The rules are essentially the same as table tennis: each player takes five serves in turn; the winner is the first to reach 21 points with a two-point advantage.

Tips of the to keep your brain healthy

  • Avoid fructose (often appearing on ingredients’ lists as ‘glucose-fructose syrup’). Research by Cambridge University has linked it with dementia.
  • Use olive oil in your cooking – those who do are ‘significantly more likely to retain their healthy faculties’.
  • Crash diets limit the brain’s capabilities by starving it of calories. One study found that as little as a week on the Atkins or Dukan diet ‘can cause significant drops in mental ability’, including distraction, confusion and memory impairment.
  • Take up golf. Swiss researchers found that hours spent on the golf course can boost brain growth. Not all sports are beneficial though – another study found that scuba diving may cause mini attacks of the bends, leading to small brain injuries.
  • Get outdoors. People with low levels of Vitamin D (which our bodies produce in sunlight) are four times more likely to suffer from cognitive decline and dementia.

Tips of the to keep chickens

  • When you build your coop, position it so that it gets plenty of shade, and place it on legs so that there is a purpose-built hen dust bath underneath.
  • Choose the breed carefully. If you’re after eggs, go for top-laying pure breed such as Welsummers, Marans or Light Sussex.
  • Remember that ‘hens that lay for Britain eat for Britain’, so you’ll need plenty of food.
  • Spring-hatched chicks are best, as they can grow outdoors over the summer.
  • Start off with 2 or 3 hens, then add to your brood as you get more confident. Attractive as they are, cockerels are too tricky for beginners.
  • Chickens eat almost anything, but feeding them poultry meat or fish is illegal.
  • To stave off rats, keep chicken feed in a metal dustbin with a metal lid, and tidy away leftovers after mealtimes.

Writing Practice / Homework

Write down the following words onto flashcards:

Travelling light


Self-catering holidays


No-frills airlines

Last minute holiday deals

Get the students to choose one, then write some advice on their topic, using the first conditional as much as possible. Get them to feedback their advice to the rest of the class.

Free Downloadable Lesson Plan

Any more ideas?

Do you have some more interesting ideas on how to practise the first conditional? Please share them with us...

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