I was told that when it comes to 0 conditional we can use modals,past simple and continuous and present perfect. Is that right or we can create 0 conditionals with different tenses too?

1 If I can play I can win

2 If I'm playing I'm winning

3 If I play I'm winning

4 If I have played I have won

I made these sentences according to what I was told. Are they correct or I need some special excptions to use them

  • They're all syntactically valid. Which one you should use depends on exactly what meaning you want to convey. Obviously it requires a very unlikely context for #4 to make sense, since normally we'd expect a speaker to know whether he's played or not. But for all we know, that's exactly what you wanted it to mean. Commented Mar 11 at 16:10
  • I named past simple, continuous, present perfect and modals. That's it or there are more ways to make this conditional like using present perfect continuous? Please if there's more name them.
    – Adam
    Commented Mar 11 at 16:24
  • Do they have pretty much the same meaning or for instance 1 shows always 2 right now 3 and 4 I don't know what haha?
    – Adam
    Commented Mar 11 at 16:26
  • 1
    No! They all have completely different meanings! If you think they all mean the same thing, please explain exactly what you think that meaning is (using lots of words, so we can all understand you). That will make it easier for us to explain how they're actually different. Don't use technical terms like "past simple, continuous, present perfect and modals". Just express your intended meaning in words you understand exactly. Commented Mar 11 at 16:34
  • 1
    The present continuous does not always refer to a plan for the future, as you should know. In this particular context, it is the only way that "I'm not driving" makes any sense. As Seattle Guy says, you are wasting time putting different tenses together and trying to make them mean something. Commented Mar 12 at 11:57

1 Answer 1


There is an (almost) unlimited combination of possibilities. To provide a ridiculous example: "If I were to have said then that I had played, then I would also have said then that I had won", etc.

But as others have commented, all of these examples are simply demonstrating differences in the perspective of the narrator vs the point in time as related to the (apparently) congruent concepts of playing and winning.

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