Sentences using ‘if’ are called conditionals. They contain two parts: the ‘if’ clause (expressing the condition), and a ‘result’ clause. The ‘if’ clause can come first or second. If it comes first, you need a comma after it: If Worraltech plc had invested in new technology, it would have survived the recession. Worraltech plc would have survived the recession if it had invested in new technology. Writing Tip Conditional sentences are an effective way of linking causes with effects, both real and speculative. ‘Real’ conditionals The ‘zero’ conditional has a present tense in both clauses, and describes a situation with an inevitable (or highly likely) outcome: If you are self-employed, submitting a tax return is a legal requirement. NOTE: ‘if’ can often be replaced by ‘when’. The ‘first’ conditional has a present tense in the ‘if’ clause and a future tense in the result clause, and describes a possible action, with a likely outcome: If Bygress plc cuts its costs, it will survive the recession. Provided that/as long as can replace if when the meaning is ‘only if’ or ‘on condition that’: Provided that/As long as demand outstrips supply, the price will continue to rise.
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