The 1st conditional

Fun tasks and the 1st conditional
A bit about conditionals
In student grammar books, conditionals are usually divided into zero, first, second, third and mixed conditionals. This post is part of a series of posts related to conditionals. Today, I am going to write about fun activities you can use with your learners when teaching what is known as the 1st conditional.1st conditional
But first, what do I mean by first conditional? My focus is on the form that appears in most ntermediate/ upper intermediate grammar books. Here is the form:

If clause                                                              ,                                            main clause
If + s. present/present continuous (or present perfect)   ,  imperative/ modals/ s. future.


       Main clause                                                   if clause
 Imperative/modals/s. future    +  if + simple present/present continuous (or present perfect).

                           E.g. If you use these ideas, your students will have fun.

* Unless + simple present (affirmative form) can also be used (in the if clause instead of if + not).

In my opinion, the conditional is a structure that allows the teacher to use different activities which can guarantee a fun grammar lesson for the students. Below are some ideas for tasks you can use with your learners.

                   Fun 1st conditional task ideas

  • Things to see in London + using a London Tube map:

Tell your students that they are in London. Get your learners to make a plan of where they will go, give them the London tube map and a brochure of the ‘must see’ tourist attractions in London. Your students must make different plans and talk about which lines they should use and what time they should leave. They should use the first conditional in order to make the different plans.

          E.g. If we leave X at 8, we will arrive at 10 at Y.
          If we take the red line, we need to get off at Y. If we get off at Y, we will           then……

  • Video Condition:

The teacher shows part of a video and then stops it and asks the students to guess what will happen next. The students must use the 1st conditional. Video ideas: You can use Sliding Doors (Gwyneth Paltrow movie) which is about what happens if she gets on the tube and what happens when she misses the tube. Another movie idea is 500 days of Summer which has a split screen moment where the hero plays in  his head a scenario of what will happen when he goes to his ex-girlfriend’s party (expectation vs reality).

  • Election game:

This is a game (idea found on Teflnet/Smore) where your students have to imagine they  are running for president. Each student gives a speech about what he/she will do if he/she gets elected. You can then ask your learners to actually vote and see who gets elected as president : )

E.g. If I am elected president, I will give every citizen a free lap top.

Screen shot taken from here


  • Consequence chain:

A consequence chain is like writing a chain story but the learners must use the 1st conditional and write about consequences (for more about this go here). How do you set this up? Well, get your students to sit in rows. One student from each end of the room must write a first conditional sentence. Then hand it to the student next to him/her. That student uses the previous student’s main clause to form an if clause and then adds his/her own main clause and so on.

                  Student A: If you go out, you will meet someone.
             Next student: If you meet someone, you will go on a date.

You can also have a consequence chain talk about global warming where students talk about the consequence of climate change. So for example, if the temperature rises, the ice bergs will melt. If the ice melts, …… (This idea came from a colleague. Thanks Sue Annan).

  • Drill marathon:

The teacher gives an if clause and the students have to write as many main clauses as they can. The teacher gives a time limit. The student who has found the most correct options is the winner.

  • Songs:

Here is a list of songs that can be used when teaching the 1st conditional. How can you use the songs? Well, many ways. You can give them the lyrics but first delete some of the words, and before they listen to the song ask them to fill in the missing lyrics with what they think should go there (pre-listening task).You can also get them to fill in the gaps whilst listening to the song. Another thing you  can do is give them the lyrics all jumbled up and ask them to put the lyrics in the right order.
Titles of songs:
If you are happy and you know it….
If you leave me now (Chicago)
If you are not mine (David Bedingfield)
If I lose myself tonight (One Republic)
If the feeling is gone (Kyla)

Screen shot taken from here

You can download everything here:
Fun tasks and the 1st conditional.docx

var docstoc_docid=’172447652′; var docstoc_title=’Fun tasks and the 1st conditional.docx’; var docstoc_urltitle=’Fun tasks and the 1st conditional.docx’; Of course, there are many other fun activities teachers can use to help their learners with the 1st conditional. I have mentioned just a few. Feel free to leave some more ideas in the comments section below. I will follow up with a post about the 2nd and the 3rd conditional in the following weeks.

Till next time…….

Helpful links and some thanks:
I would also like to thank Sue Annan and Sandy Millin who gave me some ideas for this post : ).


11 thoughts on “The 1st conditional

  1. Joanna…Thanks for sharing your strategies..It's amazing..I teach English in Social Comunication School..I made newspaper and Intervieu with my students ..I will follow you just now..Kisses..


  2. Pingback: Fun activities for the 2nd conditional | My Elt Rambles

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