Activities to practise conditionals

Teaching Conditionals to ESL students may sometimes be tough and time-consuming, especially when it comes to choosing the right type of Conditional in a sentence. Here we will present the most practical activities that will definitely come in handy when working with Conditionals.

1. Murphy’s Law

If anything can go wrong, it will.

The activity is great for practising First Conditionals. Ask your students to complete the sentences with their own ideas according to the example.

E.g. If you throw something away, you will need it the next day.

  1. If you park a long way from where you are going … 
  2. If you forget to take your umbrella … 
  3. If your baby goes to sleep late …
  4. If you change the line in a supermarket …  
  5. If you are in a hurry … 
  6. If you leave your mobile phone at home … 

2. Superstitions

Another thing you can do while practising First Conditionals is using superstitions and ask students to come up with the consequences. 

E.g. If you break a mirror, you will have seven years of bad luck.

  1. If you make a wish when you see a shooting star … 
  2. If you put salt on the doorstep of a house … 
  3. If you open an umbrella in the house .. 
  4. If you walk under a ladder …
  5. If a cat crosses your path …
  6. If you find a four-leafed clover.
  7. If a cat licks its tail … 

To make the activity even more challenging, ask your students to search for superstitions in different cultures on the Internet. 

3. Conditional train

The game can be played both for practising First and Second Conditionals. Here the teacher says or writes a sentence on the board, e.g. If the weather is good, I will go to the park. Then the first student in line must say a sentence starting with the second part of the sentence said by the teacher, e.g. If you go to the park, I will come with you. Continue playing the game until one of the students fails to come up with new ideas. 

4. Ball throw

If you are working in a classroom, your students will definitely like this game. It is suitable for kids and teens, but adults enjoy it a great deal too. To play the game, you will need a ball or any light object that can be thrown to each other. Ask your students to form a circle, say a half Conditional sentence and throw the ball to one of the students. The student then takes the ball and continues the sentence with the correct form of the Conditional. 

E.g. Participant 1: If you heat ice … 
Participant 2: it melts. 
If you freeze water … 

Participant 3: it becomes solid. 
Plants die … 

5. Mingling activities

You can use mingling activities with all Conditionals. Here, a teacher prepares a list of different questions with the target grammar and leaves some space for the answers. Then he/she hands out the questions to the students and asks them to write down their answers. 

  1. What will happen when we continue polluting the Earth?
  2. What will happen if we stop using plastic bags?
  3. If there suddenly was no internet, how would the world change?
  4. If you saw a crocodile what would you do?
  5. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  6. If you had been born in a different country, what would have been different in your life?
  7. How would your life have changed if you had done something different that one time?

6. Changing Songs

Last but not least, use popular songs in your classes, ask your students to find the conditionals and change the second part of the sentences, creating their own alternatives.

Songs with Conditionals:

YouTube channel: VOA Learning English

E.g. If I couldn’t be strong, tell me honestly, would you still love me the same? 

Student changes it into: If I couldn’t be strong, tell me honestly, would you marry me? 

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