English grammar – Zero conditional


If + present simple + present simple


Zero conditional is used 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.

Related grammar points

First conditional
Second conditional
Third conditional

5 teaching ideas and comments

  1. Karen

    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!”

    I repeat the story substituting ‘whenever’, ‘every time’ and ‘if’. They guess the rule and I write it on the board. I present examples of other uses, scientific truths etc. and this is followed by multiple choice sentence practice, a cloze activity and writing their own little story.

    And just as a reminder, I point it out to them whenever it comes up in texts and recycle it for comparative purposes when doing conditionals 1,2 and 3. After studying all 4 conditionals, I give them a type recognition activity – a long reading filled with 30 conditionals.

    • Jonathan Saldivia

      I just wanted to say that I’m amazed with the activity you’ve proposed for teaching this topic. I just found it great!
      Thanks for sharing.

      Jonathan S.

    • Suman Banik

      Thank you Karen. I like your story. I am thinking to use it in my class as well.

  2. Mohamed Najih

    I like to introduce this simple structure by talking about general and scientific facts at the beginning of the lesson. Later on, I get them to think about possible relationships. For instance, “when it rains, the streets get wet”. I ask them: “what happens if it rains?” and at this stage I insist on using complete sentences to let them practice the structure.

  3. Henny Anggraini

    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.

Add your teaching idea or comment

Your email address will not be published.