Conditional Activities – Easy Ways to Illustrate ESL Conditionals

Conditional games and activites for practising first, second and third conditional forms in a TEFL classroom.

Online Activities for Conditional Sentences

You can find online conditional exercises and activities at our online-focused site

First Conditional Activities


This matching exercise challenges students to identify some common superstitions from around the world. It is useful for introducing the first conditional. After they have completed the activity, ask them to come up with any other superstitions they are aware of.

Murphy’s Law

This is a simple activity for quickly reviewing the first conditional. Give each student a copy of this worksheet. After going through the first couple of examples as a class, have students alone or in pairs come up with ideas for the other situations.

Second Conditional Activities

What would you wear?

This kind of question is good for introducing and practising the form in a very natural manner. Students ask each other questions along the lines of what would you wear if you were going to a wedding?, What would you wear if you worked in an office? etc.

Conversation Questions

A set of conversation questions for practising the second conditional.

Class survey

This is a survey aimed at younger learners. Students must piece together their question and then collect their classmate’s answers. The results can be shared and discussed at the end of the activity.

Complete the sentence

Give each student a copy of the worksheet and ask students to complete some or all of the sentences. Make sure they put their name on the paper. Now, collect the papers and either redistribute them or if the handwriting is not so clear then read out the answers yourself. Students have to guess from the completed sentences whose answers are being read.

Third and Mixed Conditionals

Regrets Photoset

Use this photo slideshow for practising the third conditional in the form I wish I hadn’t

For each slide try to elicit the feeling of the photographic subject. For example, I wish I hadn’t eaten so much, I wish I had read the instructions.

Split Universe

This is another simple activity to demonstrate the third conditional form.

Tell the students that you are going to roll a dice and if the result is an even number then you will give everyone a sweet (for example).

Roll the dice and if the number is even, then give out the sweets. If it’s odd then shrug your shoulders and take a sweet for yourself.

Elicit from the students what the situation would be if the other result had occurred. For example, if you had rolled a three, we would all have sweets.

Maybe you can develop this activity into other interesting areas, let me know in the comments if you have any ideas.

Alternative Timeline

Draw a line on the board intersected with three or four nodes. Label each node with the life event that took place there.

For each event explain what happened and write a sentence on the board of what might have happened in an alternate timeline if things had gone differently.


For example:

If I hadn’t passed my A levels, I wouldn’t have gone to university in Manchester.

If I hadn’t applied for that job, I would probably still be working in a bank.

If I hadn’t gone to that party, I wouldn’t have met my partner.

Ask students to draw their own timelines and then in small groups ask about each other’s timelines and possible branching events.

5 thoughts on “Conditional Activities – Easy Ways to Illustrate ESL Conditionals

  1. Hello,

    I love the idea of the superstitions game. However, I’d really like to expand on it, and have a list of cultures/places that they come from, along with an answer sheet, and the students can guess where each is from.
    Do you know where each superstition comes from?

    Many thanks,

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