Common mistakes in the use of if-clauses

If sentences are useful for expressing conditions. However, students often use the wrong structure.

There are mainly three patterns with if.

First conditional

In the first pattern, we use simple present tense in the if-clause and will + first form of the verb in the main clause. This pattern is used to talk about real and possible situations.

Examples:

  • There will be an increase in criminal activities if authorities do not fund higher education.
  • Your parents will be impressed if you score band 8 in all modules.

Second conditional

In the second pattern, we use simple past tense in the if-clause and would + first form of the verb in the main clause. This pattern is used to talk about impossible or improbable situations.

Example:

  • There would be an increase in criminal activities if authorities did not fund higher education.
  • Your parents would be impressed if you scored band 8 in all modules.

Third conditional

In the third pattern, we use past perfect tense in the if clause and would have + past participle in the main clause. This pattern is used to talk about imaginary situations.

Examples:

  • There would have been an increase in criminal activities if authorities had not funded higher education.
  • Your parents would have been impressed if you had scored band 8 in all modules.

Common mistakes in the use of if-clauses

Incorrect: There would be a decrease in the number of road accidents if the government raises tax on alcohol.

Correct: There will be a decrease in the number of road accidents if the government raises tax on alcohol. / There would be a decrease in the number of road accidents if the government raised tax on alcohol.

Incorrect: Many students will drop out if colleges increased the fee.

Correct: Many students will drop out if colleges increase the fee. / Many students would drop out if colleges increased the fee.

Related posts:

  1. If-clauses
  2. How to use tenses correctly in your IELTS essays and letters?
  3. IELTS Common mistakes
  4. Common mistakes in the use of gerunds
  5. IELTS essays: common grammar mistakes to avoid
  6. When to set off relative clauses with commas
  7. Past tenses with present meaning
  8. What is IELTS?
  9. Band 9 essay sample: Should governments fund higher education?
  10. IELTS Vocabulary – verbs indicating fall and rise

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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