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Grammar 34 - Conditionals - Without ‘if’
"As long as plants receive sunlight and water they will grow well." - This is a conditional sentence that does not use the word 'if'.

Grammar 34 - Conditionals - Without ‘if’

In the past four High English quizzes we saw how conditionals play an important role in communication. We found that there are different types of conditionals such as probable, hypothetical, impossible and also zero conditionals. Each type of conditional sentence has a definite form following a particular tense form. The general principle guiding these types of sentence is the presence of a main clause and a subordinate clause almost always containing the ‘if’ word. We now look at another type of conditional sentence without the ‘if’ word in its subordinate clause.

In conditional sentences without the word 'if' we use words such as ‘as long as,’ ‘unless,’ ‘providing,’ ‘provided that,’ ‘should,’ ‘or’ and ‘otherwise.’ Generally, these sentences are formed on similar lines to other conditional sentences. In the case of ‘unless’ if the verb is in present simple in the ‘unless’ clause we use 'might', 'shall', 'may', 'should', 'can', 'will', 'could' and 'would' in the main clause. For instance:

‘Unless you pay attention, you will never learn calculus.’

We can use ‘unless’ in the present, past and past perfect tenses and there is always a condition attached to the use of the word. ‘Should’ is another word that can be used in place of ‘if’’ and typically we use this word in formal situations. When we need to impose conditions that are specific or limits that are predetermined we use ‘as long as’ or ‘provided that.’ Many times we use ‘or’ and ‘otherwise’ with conditional meanings. For instance:

‘You have got to commence operations, or the enemy will attack us.’
‘We’d better hurry, otherwise the movie will start without us.’
'The staff can do whatever they like provided that it is outside office hours.’
‘You can use my computer as long as you don’t spoil it.’

The above examples are sentences showing the use of ‘or,’ ‘otherwise,’ ‘provided that’ and ‘as long as.’ Thanks to conditional sentences the English language is rich with innovation and the quiz that follows exposes you to conditional sentences without the word 'if' in their subordinate clause.

1.
Choose the incorrect conditional sentence.
Unless the song is catchy, it won't be a hit.
We will visit the Taj Mahal on a full moon day provided that the weather is clear.
As long as the dealer gives a good price we will buy from him.
Unless the manufacturer had reduced car prices, there would not be so many protests from the dealers.
'Unless' is generally not used for impossible conditional sentences. The other options are correct conditional sentences
2.
"They may drive after a drink or two ____________ the alcohol level is within limits."
Complete the conditional sentence by filling the blank choosing the appropriate words from the following options.
otherwise
or
should
provided that
'Provided that' is used when you set limits for the condition. Here the alcohol limit is the condition. The other options are not appropriate and are grammatically incorrect
3.
"You can drink as much as you want ________ you pay the cover charge."
Complete the conditional sentence by filling the blank choosing the appropriate words from the following options.
or
otherwise
as long as
providing
'As long as' is used when you set limits for the condition. Here the cover charge is the condition. The other options are not appropriate and are grammatically incorrect
4.
Choose the incorrect conditional sentence.
They’ll go to the picnic this Saturday unless if it rains.
They’ll go to the picnic this Saturday unless it rains.
As long as plants receive water and sunlight, they will grow well.
You have got to revise, or you will fail your exam.
We don’t use 'unless' and 'if' together in a conditional sentence. The other options are correct conditional sentences
5.
Choose from the following options the sentence that is a conditional sentence that does not use 'if' and is not a zero conditional sentence.
Unless I write to you to the contrary, you can assume the deal's on.
The whistle shrills when you blow air into it.
When you leave the kettle of water for too long, the boiled water steams off.
The gears engage when you release the clutch.
This is a conditional sentence that uses 'unless' instead of 'if'. In this sentence the tense is present simple. The sentences in the other options are zero conditional sentences
6.
"You’ve got to brush up your grammar, __ you’ll flunk your English test."
Complete the conditional sentence by filling the blank choosing the appropriate words from the following options.
unless
provided that
or
as long as
Just like 'otherwise' the word 'or' is used in sentences where we have a conditional meaning. The other options are not appropriate and are grammatically incorrect
7.
Choose from the following options the sentence that is a conditional sentence that does not use 'if' and is not a hypothetical conditional sentence.
Were he truthful, the police might feel compassion for him.
I might show mercy to him were he repentant.
Were he brave, he might fight the bully.
I wouldn't drink that water unless I was really thirsty.
This is a conditional sentence that uses 'unless' instead of 'if.' In this sentence the tense is past simple. The sentences in the other options are hypothetical conditional sentences
8.
"______ you decide to place your order, please contact our stewardess."
Complete the conditional sentence by filling the blank choosing the appropriate words from the following options.
Unless
Should
Provided that
As long as
'Should' is used in formal conditional sentences. The other options are not appropriate and are grammatically incorrect
9.
"We’d better hurry, ________ we will get caught in the rain."
Complete the conditional sentence by filling the blank choosing the appropriate words from the following options.
otherwise
as long as
provided that
unless
'Otherwise' is used in sentences where we have a conditional meaning. The word 'or' could also be used. The other options are not appropriate and are grammatically incorrect
10.
Choose from the following options the sentence that is a conditional sentence that does not use 'if' and is not an impossible conditional sentence.
They would have definitely gone to the wedding had they seen the invitation card.
The police wouldn't have tracked him unless he'd left clues.
Had I seen the thief entering the house, I would have notified the police.
I could have reached the pinnacle had I worked a little harder.
This is a conditional sentence that uses 'unless' instead of 'if.' In this sentence the tense is past perfect. The sentences in the other options are impossible conditional sentences
Author:  V T Narendra

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