We often see grammar books with fixed format to be used. When it comes to 1st conditional we see this:

IF+present tense, then WILL...

  • IF you don't study well, you WILL fail the exam.

BUT, can I put it this way:

  • IF you don't study well, you might fail the exam.

Can I do this?

  • Not germane to your question, but miss takes a gerund, not an infinitive. If you miss seeing.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 17:50

1 Answer 1


Yes you can.

suppose you dropped a ball and it ran down to the basement. And you have to go get it. But the staircase is old and rotten, so you say:

If I step on it, it might collapse.

You used 'if I step on it' from the first conditional, because you are sure you are going to get down.

And for the second part of it, you used the second conditional, because you are not sure if the ladder will hold.

  • I get your point. But how do you categorize it now? Is it within 1st conditional format or the second?
    – John Arvin
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 20:30
  • @JohnArvin There's no such thing in Real English as the n-conditionals: those are just teaching tools. Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 22:13
  • StoneyB is right, there are people and things they mean, grammar is secondary. And yet... You may need a name for this thing. The problem is, that there are different school and names for this. You may try to call it First conditional, or First conditional with modal verbs, or mixed conditional.
    – Burglar
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 5:37

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