If 200

1st Conditional (Real Situation) vs. 2nd Conditional (Unreal Situation)

Level: Intermediate (350 TOEIC score)

Objective: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to differentiate and use the first conditional and second conditional to talk about real and unreal situations.

YouTube Video to use with lesson: https://youtu.be/bDr2eRbmLJI 


Warm-up (5 minutes): Begin by asking students to discuss with a partner a real situation and an unreal situation related to their daily lives. For example, a real situation could be "If I have time tonight, I will go to the gym," and an unreal situation could be "If I were a superhero, I would fly around the world." Encourage them to use the first conditional for real situations and the second conditional for unreal situations.

Introduction (10 minutes): Explain to the students that the first conditional is used for real situations or possible outcomes, while the second conditional is used for unreal or hypothetical situations. Write the following sentence on the board: "If it rains tomorrow, what will you do?" Ask students to identify whether this sentence is a first or second conditional. Discuss their answers as a class, emphasizing that it is a first conditional because the situation is possible and may happen.

Teaching (15 minutes): Divide the board into two columns: First Conditional and Second Conditional. Explain the structure and usage of each conditional, providing examples for each:

First Conditional:

  • If + subject + present simple, subject + will + base verb Example: If I study hard, I will pass the exam.

Second Conditional:

  • If + subject + past simple, subject + would/could/might + base verb Example: If I had a million dollars, I would travel around the world.

Provide additional examples for each conditional to ensure understanding. Encourage students to ask questions and clarify any confusion.

Practice (15 minutes): Distribute handouts with sentences that contain gaps. Instruct students to complete the sentences using the correct conditional form (first or second). Monitor their progress and provide assistance as needed. After they finish, have them compare answers with a partner before discussing them as a class.

Example sentences:

  1. If she __________ (study) hard, she __________ (get) good grades. (first conditional)
  2. If I __________ (win) the lottery, I __________ (buy) a new car. (second conditional)
  3. If they __________ (not leave) now, they __________ (miss) the train. (first conditional)
  4. If I __________ (be) a famous actor, I __________ (attend) red carpet events. (second conditional)

Production (15 minutes): In pairs or small groups, have students create their own sentences using both conditionals. Encourage them to be creative and present their sentences to the class. This activity allows students to practice using both conditionals in a communicative way.

Wrap-up (5 minutes): Review the key points of the lesson and ask students to share any challenges they encountered. Provide feedback and answer any remaining questions.

Extension activity: Assign a written homework task where students write a short paragraph using both the first and second conditionals. They can imagine a scenario and describe the real and unreal outcomes using the appropriate conditionals.

Note: Adjust the timing of the activities based on the needs and pace of your students.

Additional Pair Work Exercises

Pair Work Exercise 1: Role-play (First Conditional) Divide the class into pairs. Provide each pair with a set of situation cards. Each card should describe a specific real-life scenario that requires the use of the first conditional. For example:

  • You have a job interview tomorrow. Discuss what you will do if it rains heavily on your way to the interview.
  • Your friend wants to borrow your car. Discuss what you will do if they promise to fill up the gas tank afterward.

Instruct the pairs to take turns role-playing the situations, using the first conditional to discuss their actions or decisions. Encourage them to use the structure "If [condition], I will [action]." Monitor the pairs and provide feedback as needed.

Pair Work Exercise 2: Hypothetical Questions (Second Conditional) Pair up the students again, and this time, they will ask each other hypothetical questions using the second conditional. Provide them with a list of question prompts such as:

  • If you could travel to any country in the world, where would you go, and why?
  • If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and how would you use it?

Instruct the pairs to take turns asking and answering the questions, using the second conditional structure. Encourage them to be imaginative and elaborate on their answers. Monitor their conversations and provide assistance when necessary.

After both exercises, bring the class back together for a brief discussion. Ask a few pairs to share their role-plays or interesting answers from the hypothetical questions activity. This will give students the opportunity to practice speaking and listening, while also reinforcing their understanding and use of the first and second conditionals.

These pair work exercises will allow students to actively engage with the target language and provide opportunities for meaningful conversation. Enjoy the lesson!



Mari: If I have a day off next week, I will go hiking in the mountains. What about you?

Jared: If I had more free time, I would definitely join you. Unfortunately, I'm swamped with work right now.

Mari: If you finish your work early, we could go together on the weekend. Jared: That would be great! If I manage to wrap up my projects, I will let you know.

Mari: If the weather is nice, we can have a picnic up there.

Jared: If it doesn't rain, that sounds like a fantastic plan. Let's keep our fingers crossed

Comprehension Questions:

  1. What does Person A plan to do if they have a day off next week?
  2. Why is Person B unable to join Person A?
  3. What does Person A suggest if Person B finishes their work early?
  4. What does Person B need to do before confirming their availability?
  5. What is the plan if the weather is nice?

Audio available at:

1st and 2nd Conditional Conversation

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