It’s time to ditch those gap-fill exercises (for the time being) and practise conditionals in speaking.
This is a drilling activity. It helps students practise the basic form of conditionals.
Prepare a few halves of sentences.
- If it rains tomorrow, …
- I would have more time if …
- If I had woken up later this morning, …
Ask your students to complete each sentence. They can make it so that it’s true for them or it can be made up. The only thing to remember is to get the form right.
Prepare a collection of statements or general opinions.
- Eating vegetables is healthy.
- On a rainy day children are bored.
- Exercising makes you fit.
Students change each statement using the zero or the first conditional, keeping the original meaning.
Eating vegetables is healthy.
Opinion: If you eat vegetables, you will be healthy.
You can practise other conditionals with this activity. Ask students to come up with hypothetical sentences about the opposite situation using the second conditional. For example, “If you didn’t eat vegetables, you wouldn’t be healthy.”
Find a set of ready-to-use statements in Convo Grammar: Conditionals.
Make sentences with this topic
On the board write a few general topics, such as shopping, travelling, hobbies, etc.
In this activity students make sentences on each topic using conditionals.
Shopping: If I don’t have money, I don’t buy clothes.
Hobbies: If I had more time, I would start guitar lessons.
Travelling: When I go on holiday, I don’t buy souvenirs.
It’s up to you to decide how many sentences they should make: 3, 5 or more. For each topic you can provide prompts to help those less creative students. You can find sets of topics with photo prompts for this activity in Convo Grammar: Conditionals.
You can use this activity to practise each individual conditional - for example, ask students to only make sentences using the first conditional. Or you can use it to practise a mix of different ones - ask students to come up with sentences using the second and the third conditional, or all of them.
How would your life be different?
In this activity students practise the second, third and mixed conditionals.
Prepare a list of topics, personal items or concepts from everyday life.
- A car
Students look at the list and think about what impact these items, situations or concepts had or still have on their lives. Next, they think about how their lives would be different if they didn’t have these items. Or how their lives would be different if they had made different decisions in these situations.
If I didn’t have a car, I would have to take a bus to work every day.
If the Internet hadn’t been invented, I wouldn’t spend so much time on my phone now.
It’s up to you to decide how many sentences they should make: 3, 5 or more. You can provide some prompts to help those less creative students.
Before the lesson prepare a mini-story.
Mark woke up late because his alarm didn’t go off. He was late for the bus and missed his job interview. He now doesn’t have a job.
Students come up with an alternative version of the story using the second, third or mixed conditionals.
They can do it by changing each sentence or they can summarise the alternative story in their own words.
If his alarm clock had gone off, he wouldn't have been late for the bus. If he hadn't been late for the bus, he wouldn’t have missed his job interview. If he hadn’t missed his job interview, he would still have a job now.
In Convo Grammar: Conditionals you get 10 stories, ready to use for revising conditionals.
In this activity students mostly practise the third conditional and “wish” for expressing regrets.
Prepare some photos of people in a difficult situation.
- Someone losing their job
- Someone who ate too much
- Someone who had a sports injury
They look at the photos and come up with sentences about these people using the third conditional. What regrets would they have? For example, “If he hadn’t been late every day, he wouldn’t have lost his job.”
If you want to incorporate other conditionals into this activity, ask students to give an opinion on the situations using the first conditional. For example, “If you’re late for work every day, you will be fired.”
They could also give advice to people from the photos using the second conditional. For example, “If I were you, I would start looking for another job.”
Prepare a list of random verbs on small pieces of paper (one verb per piece). Or if you’re teaching online, prepare pairs of random verbs.
Students draw two verb cards and have to connect them into one sentence using any conditional.
Online: students use both verbs to make a conditional sentence.
If I drink too much coffee, I can’t sleep.
We hope these simple activities will give you and your students a nice break from filling in gaps in grammar exercises. And if you want to save time and get a pack of ready-to-use materials for revising conditionals, check out Convo Grammar: Conditionals.