Zero Conditional


Zero Conditional

Before studying the zero conditional, let’s take a view of conditionals. Conditionals are complex sentences that show cause-and-effect relationships. Conditionals show possible outcomes under certain conditions. We have four types of conditionals. One of them is the zero conditional. You will study the zero conditional in this article. If you want to study the remaining conditionals, kindly visit Study EnglishPage.  

What is the zero conditional?

The zero conditional is a conditional sentence or a grammatical structure that we use to show a universal truth, general truth, or habit. It means that an outcome will be 100 percent true under the condition.

  • If you close your eyes, you see nothing.

This example means that it is a fact when one closes his eyes; he is not able to see anything. One can see something when he opens his eyes.

  • If he gets money, he wastes on buying extravagant items.

This is an example of the zero conditional. It means that wasting on extravagant items is his habit. Whenever he has money in his pocket, he directly goes shopping.

Zero Conditional

How to form the Zero conditional?

The zero conditional consists of two clauses. One of the two clauses is a conditional clause in which we use a simple present clause. The other is a main clause in which we use simple present tense.

Structure of the Zero Conditional

Conditional clause + Comma + Result clause

Result clause + No comma + Conditional clause


If + Simple Present Tense + Comma + Simple Present Tense

Simple Present Tense + If + Simple Present Tense

  • If it snows, everything looks white.
  • Everything looks white if it snows.

Zero Conditional with When

You can use the word “when” instead of “if” in the zero conditional interchangeably without any change in its meaning.

  • If they study, they eat candies at the same time.
  • When they study, they eat candies at the same time.

Zero Conditional Examples

  • If you press the red button, it rings.
  • He gets angry if someone makes a noise.
  • If one eats fats, he does not lose his weight.
  • If the light goes off, they cry and disturb others.
  • If you don’t give enough water to the plants, they die.

Zero Conditional Negative Sentences

You can make the zero conditional sentences negative by adding the word “not” after the auxiliary verb. Both clauses can also be made negative by adding the word “not”.

If + Simple present tense + Comma + Result clause (Sub + Aux + Not + Verb +………)

  • If she is poor, she does not buy expensive dresses.

If + Simple present tense (Sub + Aux + Not + Verb +……) + Comma + Result clause

  • If she does not have money, she buys less expensive dresses.
  • If she does not have money, she does not buy expensive dresses.

Zero Conditional Questions

We use zero conditional questions to ask about universal facts, general facts, or habits that occur under certain conditions.  


If + Simple present tense + Comma + Result clause (Auxiliary + Subject + Verb +………)

  • If she has money, does she buy expensive dresses?

Result clause (Auxiliary + Subject + Verb +………) + If + Simple present tense

  • Does she buy expensive dresses if she has money?

Remember that wh-question words are used before the auxiliary verb.

  • If she has money, how does she spend it?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between zero and first conditional?

The first conditional is used for an event that has a possibility to occur in the present or future, and the zero conditional is used for a scientific fact, general fact, or habit.

Can we call the zero conditional a real conditional?

Of course, we can call the zero conditional a real conditional. It shows 100 percent reality. The result is 100 percent confirmed under the condition.


Related Topics:

            First Conditional
            Second Conditional
            Third Conditional

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