It is possible to use other words instead of if in first conditional sentences:
|ALTERNATIVE TO “IF”||WHY USE IT?||EXAMPLE|
|When||When the “condition” will definitely happen.||When I die, I’ll leave all my money to charity.|
|As soon as||To emphasize immediacy||This situation is very urgent. I’ll call you as soon as I have more information.|
|Unless||In place of “if not”||You’ll fail the test unless you study.
= You’ll fail the test if you don’t study.
Let’s study each case separately.
When: When the “condition” will definitely happen in the future.
Look at the difference between these two sentences:
- If I see Sam, I’ll give him your message. (I’m not sure if I will see him or not)
- When I see Sam, I’ll give him your message. (I will definitely see Sam)
As soon as: To emphasize immediacy.
- My feet hurt! As soon as I get home, I’m going to take off these high heels.
- As soon as we have enough money saved, we’ll take a vacation to Costa Rica. We can’t wait!
- I’ll respond to your e-mail as soon as I can.
Unless: Substitute for “if not.”
- You won’t lose any weight unless you start eating healthier food.
= You won’t lose any weight if you don’t start eating healthier food.
- I’m not going to dance unless somebody invites me.
= I’m not going to dance if somebody doesn’t invite me.
- Unless there’s an emergency at work, I’ll be home on time.
= If there’s not an emergency at work, I’ll be home on time.