Italian conditional sentences (if-clauses)
If-clauses are used to express a possible consequence.
There are 3 main kinds and each one conveys a different degree of probability.
Type 1 conditional (Reality If-Clause)
Type 2 conditional (Possibility If-Clause)
Type 3 conditional (Impossibility If-Clause)
The structure is essentially the same for all three types of if-clauses.
If-clauses are introduced by the adverb Se (If).
The If-Clause can precede or follow the main clause.
If-clauses (1): Se + Clause + Comma + Main clause
|Se non ti conoscessi, penserei tu sia un ragazzo stupido.||If I didn't know you, I'd think you were a stupid guy.|
|Se piove, il terreno è bagnato.||If it rains, the ground is wet.|
|Se tu mi avessi ascoltato, ora non saremmo qui.||If you had listened to me, we wouldn't have ended up here.|
If-clauses (2): Main clause + Se + Clause
|Avremmo comprato i biglietti se tu fossi stato più veloce.||We would've gotten the tickets if you had been faster.|
|Usciremmo insieme se non avessi così tanto lavoro da fare.||We would go out together if I didn't have so much work to do.|
|Andrebbe tutto bene se tu non rovinassi sempre le cose.||Everything would be alright if you didn't always mess things up.|
1. Type 1 conditional (Reality If-Clause)
The hypothesis introduced in the If-clause is highly probable.
In both the main and iI-clause, the verb is on the imperative or indicative mood.
|Se fuori piove, prendo un ombrello.||If it rains outise, I take an umbrella.|
|Ti pago una cena se mi aiuti.||I'll offer you a dinner if you help me out.|
|Se il computer non si accende, premi questo tasto.||If the computer doesn't turn on, push this button.|
2. Type 2 conditional (Possibility If-Clause)
In this case, the hyphotesis expressed in the if-clause is possible but not certain.
The main clause takes an imperfect subjunctive, whereas the if-clause has a verb in the imperative or conditional mood.
|Se ti chiedesse qualcosa, tu nega tutto.||If he asks you something, deny everything.|
|Se il treno oggi arrivasse in orario, sarei felice.||If today the train arrived on time, I'd be happy.|
|Se Maria fosse più gentile, nessuno la odierebbe.||If Maria were kinder, nobody would hate her.|
3. Type 3 conditional (Impossibility If-Clause)
In this last case, the hyphotesis has no chance of being fullfilled.
If the hyphothesis refers to a present time, the main clause has a present or past conditional verb and the if-clause has an imperfect subjunctive verb.
|Se fossi in te, lascerei perdere.||If I were you, I'd just let go.|
|Se vincessi, non so cosa farei.||If I won, I don't know what I would do.|
|Se fossi il direttore, cambierei molte cose.||If I were the director, I'd change many things.|
If the hyphothesis refers to a past time, tha main clause has a past conditional verb and the if-clause past perfect subjunctive verb.
|Se fossi stato in te, avrei lasciato perdere.||If I had been you, I would have just let it go.|
|Se avessi vinto il premio, l'avrei dedicato a mia sorella.||If I had won the prize, I woud have dedicated it to my sister.|
|Se avvessero seguito i miei consigli, non avrebbero perso il lavoro.||If they had followed my advice, they wouldn't have lost their job.|
Some hypothesis could be built using mixed verb structures.
These sentences express the direct consequence on the present of a possible past action.
The main clause takes a present conditional verb and the if-clause takes a past perfect subjunctive.
|Se avessimo ascoltato il loro consiglio, ora saremmo ricchi.||If we had listened to their advice, we would be rich now.|
|Se non avesse incontrato Anna, sarebbe ancora single.||If he hadn't met Anna, he would still be single.|
|Se non avesse trovato un lavoro, sarebbe disoccupato.||If he hadn't found a job he would be unemployed.|
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