First conditional: possible or likely situations
Spanish “si” clauses, also known as conditional sentences “oraciones condicionales”, are used to express what could happen if some condition is met. There are three different kinds of “si” clauses. In this unit, we’ll look at the possible or likely situations, which are actually the most common.
There are three constructions for expressing possible or likely situations, known as the first conditional. Each of these constructions requires the present tense in the conditional clause; that is, the clause that begins with “si” and expresses the condition that must be met for the result clause to occur. The order of the clauses is unimportant.
Si + present tense, + … present tense
This conditional is used when the result will always happen. So, if water reaches 100 degrees, it always boils. It’s a fact. I’m talking in general, not about one particular situation. The result of the ‘if clause’ is always the main clause.
The “si” (if) in this conditional can usually be replaced by “cuando” (when) without changing the meaning:
Si/cuando se come mucho, se engorda (If/when people eat too much, they get fat).
Si/cuando tocas el fuego, te quemas (If/when you touch a fire, you get burned).
Si + present tense, + …future tense
It’s used to talk about things which might happen in the future. Of course, we can’t know what will happen in the future, but this describes possible things,
which could easily come true.
Si llueve, no iré al parque (If it rains, I won’t go to the park)
Si tengo suficiente dinero, me compraré unos zapatos nuevos (If I have enough money, I’ll buy some new shoes).
Si + present tense, + …imperative construction
Si puedes, llámame mañana (If you can, call me tomorrow).
Si estás enferma, ve al médico (If you are sick, go to the doctor).
|Notice that in the conditional sentences the order of the clauses is unimportant, so these pair of sentences mean exactly the same (just drop the comma in the second one):
Si puedes, llámame mañana or Llámame mañana si puedes
Si llueve, no iré al parque or No iré al parque si llueve.
Si se come mucho, se engorda or Se engorda si se come mucho.