Conditional linking words and punctuation
Common conditional conjuctions are: if, as/so long as, unless, even if, providing, provided (that), on condition that, no matter how/who/what/where/when.
When the clause with the conditional linking word (if, unless, etc.) is at the beginning of the sentence, there is a comma. When the main clause begins the sentence, there is no comma.
– If you give me your number, I’ll phone you tomorrow.
– As long as you take your mobile, I can phone you any time.
– I won’t go unless you come with me. (= if you don’t come with me)
– We’re going on the walk even if it rains.
– I’ll help you on condition that you don’t tell.
– No matter how many times you ask me to, I won’t do it.
In case is used to describe things we do as precautions against what might happen.
– I’ll take the mobile in case I need to phone you.
FORM: If + present simple + present simple in the main clause
USE: to describe a general truth
– If there is life on other planets, we are not alone.
– Unless lions are frightened or hungry, they’re not very dangerous.
Possibility/likelihood in the present or future
FORM: If, etc. + present simple/present continuous/present perfect + present continuous, future or imperative in the main clause.
USE: to describe what is possible or likely in the present or future.
– You won’t get an interview unless you‘ve filled in an application form.
– Ask Tom to buy the land no matter how much it costs.
– If you‘re watching TV, you will see him presenting the news.