English grammar - zero conditional

- - Zero conditional


If + present simple + present simple


We use zero conditional to talk about facts or situations which are always true.
  • If you heat water, eventually it boils.
  • If people don't eat or drink, they die.

Ideas for teaching zero conditional

How do you teach zero conditional? Add your idea ยป

I introduce it with a story:
When it rains, my roof leaks. When my roof leaks, the walls get wet. When the walls get wet, they get moldy. When they get moldy, I get sick. When I get sick, I go to the doctor. When I go the doctor, he always says the same thing, "Fix your roof!"
Then, I repeat the story substituting 'whenever', 'every time' and 'if'.
They guess the rule and I present / write it on the board. Then I present examples of other uses, scientific truths etc. This is followed with multiple choice sentence practice, a cloze activity and their writing their own little story.
After that, I point it out to them whenever it comes up in readings, and recycle it for comparative purposes when doing 1,2, and 3, just as a reminder.
After studying all 4 conditionals, I give them a type recognition activity - a long reading filled with 30 conditionals.

I teach the zero conditional with nature rules or scientific facts. I like to talk about the environment and situations in the daily life of my students. Things are true everywhere. It's very easy!
Magda Pacheco

I like to introduce this simple structure by talking about general and scientific facts a bit at the beginning of the lesson without telling my students that the lesson will revolve around these facts. Later on, I try to make them think about possible relationships among those facts. For instance, when it rains, the streets get wet. I ask them: what happens if it rains? at this stage I insist on using complete sentences to let them practice the structure before they know its name. Students get the idea of the logic which is involved in the sentence before you explain it to them.
Mohamed Najih

Hi, I was asked to look for a song that includes the zero conditional in its lyrics. Does somebody know one? I'll be grateful if somebody helps me with this. Thanks.

I teach zero conditional through song. "Rain" by The Beatles is an appropriate song for this. First, i ask my students to complete the lyrics while listening then we sing it together and after i write the zero conditional sentences from the lyrics on the board and highlight the use of zero conditional.
Henny Anggraini

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