# zero vs first conditional

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#### Mr unsure

##### Guest
Hello all,

I am doing A lesson which is under the context of Laws. I have to attack Zero and first conditional. I realise that zero conditional is more likely to occur - eg: If you kill someone, you go to jail Vs If you kill someone, you will go to jail. (These two sentences are both correct) These to sentences are pretty damn close in meaning. My class is an intermediate level but not a bright intermediate. I don't wish to confuse them. If anyone has a very clear way to explain the differences between zero and First I would be greatly appreciative.

Yours, confused again Mr Unsure :shock:

#### MikeNewYork

##### VIP Member
Mr unsure said:
Hello all,

I am doing A lesson which is under the context of Laws. I have to attack Zero and first conditional. I realise that zero conditional is more likely to occur - eg: If you kill someone, you go to jail Vs If you kill someone, you will go to jail. (These two sentences are both correct) These to sentences are pretty damn close in meaning. My class is an intermediate level but not a bright intermediate. I don't wish to confuse them. If anyone has a very clear way to explain the differences between zero and First I would be greatly appreciative.

Yours, confused again Mr Unsure :shock:

You are correct, the first and zero conditionals can be very close in meaning.

The first conditional is used when the result clause depends on the fulfillment of the condition in the "if" clause. The zero conditional is used for habitual action (a pattern of behavior) or for generally accepted facts.

If I go to Fred's I have the ribs. (habitual action)
If I go to Fred's, I will have the ribs. (Having ribs depends on going to Fred's.)

If I cool water to 32 degrees, it freezes. (accepted fact)
If I cool water to 32 degrees, it will freeze. (The frreezing depends on cooling the water.

The meanings are close in both cases because both situations have happened before. The first conditional becomes greatly different if one talks about a novel action.

If a huge asteroid hits the earth, the earth will explode.
If a huge asteroid hits the earth, the earth explodes.

In this case, the zero conditional doesn't work.

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