Could you please help with conditionals usage?

I'm practising those right now, but do I understand everything correctly?

Zero conditional:

If I see water, I drink it

// Every time I see water, I drink it

First conditional:

If I see water, I will drink it

// It's something probable. For example, I'm on the street looking for a drinking fountain

Second conditional:

If I saw water, I would drink it

// I'm thirsty in the middle of the desert. There's still a tiny possibility of finding an oasis

Third conditional:

If I had seen water, I would have drunk it

// Now I'm at home, recalling my desert adventure, where I didn't find any water

Am I right in every case? Does it sound natural and formal enough? (I'm preparing for IELTS)

Many thanks!

  • 1
    Looks good to me. I think your understanding and usage are completely fine.
    – Melon Dusk
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


Only thing I would correct is this:

If I see water, I will drink it

Adding will here doesn't make an encounter with water more probable (if you wanted to express that, you'd say I might see water; if I do, I will drink it).

This means that you will not drink it at the moment you see it, but at a future time from that point.

For example: If you are thirsty in a desert and saying this, what you are implying is that there will be an interval of time between when you see the water and are able to drink it--e.g. if you are at a desert and see an oasis far off, you will drink it when you get to it.

If I see water, I drink it

This sort of brings a mental picture that you're expecting to encounter water within easy reach, such as on the ground or on a shelf.

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