Se Clauses: First Conditional

Periodo ipotetico della realtà
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Periodo ipotetico della realtà

The first conditional is an if-then proposition that talks about a likely situation: if something happens (the condition), then something else happens (the result). The first conditional is usually constructed similarly in Italian and English and can be further divided into four subcategories:

  1. se + present, (then) present
  2. se + present, (then) future
  3. se + future, (then) future
  4. se + present, (then) imperative

The order of the clauses can be reversed with absolutely no change in meaning as long as se / "if" stays in front of the correct verb form.

se + present
future
  future
se + present
se + present
imperative
  imperative
se
+ present

Se Present, Present

This construction is useful for talking about things that happen as a rule or on a regular basis; indeed, se could be replaced by quando (when) without really changing the meaning.

Per esempio…

Se piove, non lavoriamo.   If it rains, we don’t work.
Non lavoriamo se piove.   We don’t work if it rains.
     
Se non ho voglia di leggere guardo la televisione.   If I don’t want to read I watch TV.
Guardo la televisione se non ho voglia di leggere.   I watch TV if I don’t want to read.

Se Present, Future

The se + present tense, future tense construction is used for events that will occur (in the future) if the condition is met (in the present).

Per esempio…

Se ho tempo, lo farò.   If I have time, I will do it.
Lo farò se ho tempo.   I will do it if I have time.
     
Se studia, supererà l’esame.   If he studies, then he will pass the test.
Supererà l’esame se studia.   He will pass the test if he studies.

Se Future, Future

The se + future tense, future tense construction is used for events that will occur (in the future) if the condition is met (in the future). In English, this is essentially the same as the se present, future construction.

Per esempio…

Se avrò tempo, lo farò.   If I have time, I will do it.
Lo farò se avrò tempo.   I will do it if I have time.
     
Se studierà, supererà l’esame.   If he studies, then he will pass the test.
Supererà l’esame se studierà.   He will pass the test if he studies.

Se Present, Imperative

The se + present tense, imperative construction is used to give an order (in the imperative) dependent on the condition being met (in the present).

Per esempio…

Se puoi, chiama domani.   If you can, call tomorrow.
Chiama domani se puoi.   Call tomorrow if you can.
(If you can’t, then don’t worry about it.)
     
Se avete soldi, pagate il conto.   If you have money, then pay the bill.
Pagate il conto se avete soldi.   Pay the bill if you have money.
(If you don’t have money, someone else will take care of it.)

Lessons on the second and third conditional coming soon.

 Related lessons

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Italian se clauses

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