I have some problems with zero and first conditionals . Sometimes ı can't distinguish them.

1-I could see if anyone wanted to break in .

About the context : The speaker has a shop and he says this sentence after leaving his shop on its own.And he is worried about the shop.

So the sentence 1 is "past real conditional" right? meaning it is "zero conditional".

2-Let me know if you need anything.

Again I don't know if the sentence 2 is "zero conditional" or not .

1 Answer 1


Another way to write your sentence is:

If you need anything, then let me know.

Let is being used imperatively. Intuitively one would likely associate this to present tense, making this a "zero conditional." But will also can be used to suggest an imperative.

If you need anything, then you will let me know.

But this isn't really future tense, even though it looks like it

Using this site as a reference, the difference between zero and type 1 conditionals is:

In type 1 conditional sentences, you can also use modals in the main clause instead of the future tense to express the degree of certainty, permission, or a recommendation about the outcome.

And that's what you're doing when you add will above.

Other modals work, to express the degree of "certainty" ... of imperativeness:

If you need anything, then you { should | would | could | must } let me know.

If you're going to use this "zero, first, second, third" model of conditionals, it seems imperatives straddle both zero and type 1.

  • Thank you , do you have any idea about the sentence -1 ? Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 15:22

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