Conditionals: Ideas for Teachers

Here are some ideas for teaching with the materials.

The materials and lesson plans assume that your students are at an intermediate level or above and already have some knowledge of the grammatical features highlighted on the website. There are of course many ways in which you could adapt the materials for use in class, with different permutations of individual work, pair work and group work, and the ideas below are just suggestions to prompt your own creativity. If you would like to share your teaching ideas for the materials please contact me and we can put your ideas up on the English for Uni blog. My email address is

I do not know how long your classes are, so the ideas below can be adapted in any way you like. You might want to spend longer on some features than others, or you might want to use a flipped/inverted classroom approach and give the students some things to do before class and use the class time to discuss particularly difficult areas.

The website materials and exercises can be downloaded as a PowerPoint presentation, pdf files, or as Word files if you want to adapt them yourself.

If you want to use the website exercises in class, I’ve found that it works well to put a QR code up on a screen for the students to scan so they can go directly to an exercise. To generate a QR code, copy the URL for the exercise and then paste it into a QR code generator, such as this one: You can use this in a very basic way, with all the custom suggestions, and produce a black and white code to copy using either a screen shot or the snipping tool. Then paste this code into a PowerPoint slide and project it on a screen or wall. It takes less than a minute to do this and the students enjoy using the code.

You could also give students a copy of the video transcript and ask them to act out the story. They could even change the story to include different conditional forms and make a video of their final product.These teaching ideas can be downloaded as a PowerPoint, PDF or in Word format.

    • Suggestion 1 - Focus: Conditional forms in English

      1. Play the If You Love Me video story up to the end of the dating show (4:34).
      2. Ask the students what language feature they think is the focus of the story.
      3. Play the story again from 0:20 to 0:46 (‘If you were there, you might have seen me’.) Discuss this sentence.

        Were you there? No.
        Did you see him? No.
        Could you possibly have seen him? Yes, but only if you had been there.

        This sentence describes a possible, hypothetical situation.
        What other things can we do with ‘if’ clauses? (All the possibilities are listed in the chart on the English for Uni website – show this later in the session.)
      4. Play the rest of the story and ask students to note down any more ‘if’ expressions.
      5. Ask the students if they noticed any similar constructions using words other than ‘if’ (e.g. even though, otherwise).
      6. Give the students the transcript of the video and ask them to underline all the conditional clauses. Ask them to work together to compile a list of all the ways in which we use conditionals in English, including the form and the use of these clauses. Discuss.
      7. Show the students the chart on the English for Uni website and give them a printed copy (preferably in colour).
      8. Do exercises 1, 2 and/or 3 in class, with any remaining exercises for homework.
      9. Watch the teaching section of the video story (excerpt/chapter 2, or from 4:36 in the complete video).
      10. Ask the students to invent proverbs using conditionals, or to translate proverbs with conditionals into English from their first language. (e.g. ‘If you always give, you will always have.’)
    • Suggestion 2 - Focus: Alternative conditional words

        1. Play the If You Love Me video story up to the end of the dating show (4:34).
        2. Ask the students to focus this time on alternative words that introduce conditionals. Share ideas and make a list.
        3. Compare the students’ ideas to the section on the website relating to Other words than sometimes introduce conditionality.
        4. Play the teaching section of the video story (excerpt/chapter 2, or from 4:34 in the full video).
        5. Work through the first two questions of exercise 1 together. Students then do the remaining questions from exercise 1 in pairs. Discuss.
        6. Set exercise 2 for homework.