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Italian “if clauses” (reality, possibility, impossibility, mixed)

Italian “if clauses” are probably the most important thing that any student of Italian should know! What’s interesting is that many Italians (and we’re not joking!) get them wrong! Learn how to form the different types of Italian “if clauses”: reality, possibility, impossibility and mixed! And don’t forget to do the exercises at the bottom of the page!

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Italian “IF CLAUSES” – PERIODO IPOTETICO!

In Italian, there are 3 types of “if clauses”:

Type 1REALITY 

Type 2POSSIBILITY

Type 3IMPOSSIBILITY

 

If clause – Type 1

It expresses a real hypothesis having a certain consequence.

This type of “if clause” can be formed in 4 ways:

1) PRESENT INDICATIVE + PRESENT INDICATIVE

Example:

Se mangi troppo, ingrassi. (If you eat too much, you get fat)

2) PRESENT INDICATIVE + FUTURE INDICATIVE

Example:

Se piove, non andrò al cinema. (If it rains, I won’t go to the cinema)

3) FUTURE INDICATIVE + FUTURE INDICATIVE

Example:

Se passerò l’esame, festeggerò con i miei amici. (If I pass the exam, I’ll celebrate with my friends)

4) PRESENT INDICATIVE + IMPERATIVE

Example:

Se vai a Berlino, portami un souvenir! (If you go to Berlin, bring me a souvenir!)

Review how to form the Italian present indicative or imperative!

 

If clause – Type 2

It expresses a possible hypothesis, something that can happen but can also not happen. If it happened, it could have a certain consequence.

This type of “if clause” is formed with:

IMPERFECT SUBJUNCTIVE + PRESENT CONDITIONAL

Example:

Se fossi ricca, mi trasferirei a New York. (If I were rich, I would move to New York)

 

If clause – Type 3

It expresses an impossible hypothesis, something past that can’t happen anymore, as well as its consequence.

This kind of “if clause” is formed with:

TRAPASSATO SUBJUNCTIVE + PAST CONDITIONAL

Example:

Se avessi avuto un aereo privato, avrei girato tutto il mondo. (If I had had a private plane, I would have gone all around the world)

Do you remember when to use and when NOT to use Italian subjunctive? Review everything with us!

 

If clause – Mixed 

It expresses an hypothesis of the past that didn’t occur; but, if it had occurred, it would have had a certain consequence in the present.

This type of “if clause” is formed with:

TRAPASSATO SUBJUNCTIVE + PRESENT CONDITIONAL

Example:

Se avessi studiato giurisprudenza, ora sarei un avvocato. (If I had studied at law school, now I would be a lawyer)

Now that you’ve learned if clauses in Italian, don’t miss our lesson about CI!

Vediamo se hai appreso i contenuti di questa lezione! Prova a fare gli esercizi!

Periodo ipotetico di 1° tipo: Se mi ____ Lucia, le ____ che non voglio uscire!
Periodo ipotetico di 2° tipo: Se ____ ricco, ____ a Dubai!
Periodo ipotetico di 3° tipo: Se ____ un jet privato, il viaggio ____ più confortevole!
Periodo ipotetico misto: Se ____ in Cina, ora ____ cinese perfettamente!
Quanti tipi di periodo ipotetico di 1° tipo esistono in italiano?

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