Grammar 4-09 | Low Intermediate | CEFR B1

Zero Conditional

Listen to four conversations using the zero conditional.

Conversation 1

Man: Where do you work?
Woman: I work at the beach. I am a lifeguard.
Man: Nice. That must be a great job.
Woman: Sometimes. But, if it is hot, it gets really busy.
Man: What about in winter?
Woman: When winter comes, the beaches are empty, so I there’s no work.
Man: Oh, too bad.

Conversation 2

Man: When it snows, do you go skiing?
Woman: I do if I have time.
Man: I ski too. What is the best place to ski?
Woman: Sugar bowl is a good place when there is enough snow.
Man: What months does it get snow?
Woman: If it is a good winter, it gets lots of snow from December to March.

Conversation 3

Man: What days do you teach?
Woman: I teach ever day, but I also teach Sunday if my boss asks me.
Man: Really, who do you teach then?
Woman: I teach private groups. Usually business people.
Man: Do you teach small classes?
Woman: No, we only have class if we have at least twenty students.

Conversation 4

Woman: How do you like working at the restaurant?
Man: I like it, but it is hard when it gets busy.
Woman: Do you get tips?
Man: Not always, but I often get them if I have a really big order.
Woman: Sounds like a good job.
Man: It is as long as it’s not too busy.

Zero Conditional

Point 1: The zero conditional shows a simple cause and affect. Action A causes Action B.
  1. Turn on the heater if it gets hot.
  2. I do not walk if it rains.
  3. I take the bus if I have time.
  4. I do not drive if the traffic is bad.
Point 2: The zero conditional uses when instead of if in some cases.
  1. I do not walk to work if it rains.
  2. I do not walk to work when it rains.
  3. I take the bus if I have time.
  4. I take the bus when I have time.
Point 3: Because zero conditionals are subordinating clauses, the order of the clauses can be reversed.
  1. He gets mood if he does not have coffee.
  2. If he does not have coffee, he gets moody.
  3. The beach is crowded if the weather is nice.
  4. If the weather is nice, the beach is crowded.
Point 4: The zero conditional uses the simple present tense because it expresses recurring actions.
  1. We play cards of the weekend if we feel like it.
  2. If she gets stressed, she starts acting strange.
  3. If the economy is good, people spend more money.
  4. When it rains, it pours. (idiom)
Answer the following questions about the interview.