The Zero Conditional

We can make a zero conditional sentence with two present simple verbs (one in the 'if clause' and one in the 'main clause'):

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 'if' in this conditional can usually be replaced by 'when' without changing the meaning.

For example: If water reaches 100 degrees, it boils. (It is always true, there can't be a different result sometimes). If I eat peanuts, I am sick. (This is true only for me, maybe, not for everyone, but it's still true that I'm sick every time I eat peanuts)

Here are some more examples:

  • If people eat too much, they get fat.
  • If you touch a fire, you get burned.
  • People die if they don't eat.
  • You get water if you mix hydrogen and oxygen.
  • Snakes bite if they are scared
  • If babies are hungry, they cry

See this page about the first conditional to learn about the difference between the first and the zero conditionals. The first conditional is about a specific situation, but the zero is talking in general.

Click here for an exercise about making this conditional

Click here for all the conditional exercises

Advanced Conditionals Explained

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