If clause – type 1: Italian grammar lesson 39

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Unlock the secrets of Italian “if clauses” and master the art of hypotheticals! Dive into the world of conditions and consequences with our easy guide to crafting realistic scenarios in Italian. 🇮🇹✨

  • Grasp the Basics: Learn the Italian equivalent of “if” – se. Spot this word, and you’re dealing with a hypothetical. It’s that simple!
  • Realistic Hypotheses: Focus on four key structures combining present and future tenses with the imperative to express likely or certain future events.
  • Present to Present: Use se + present indicative + present indicative when the condition and consequence are both current.
  • Present to Future: Combine se + present indicative + future indicative to discuss a present action leading to a future result.
  • Future to Future: Opt for se + future indicative + future indicative when both the condition and consequence are in the future.
  • Commands with Conditions: Mix se + present tense + imperative when giving a command that depends on a condition being met.
  • Adding Alternatives: Spice up your sentences with altrimenti (otherwise) to indicate what happens if the condition isn’t fulfilled.
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What are if clauses?

You might be wondering what we’re talking about. Well, an if clause is a phrase that indicates a condition and is usually followed by a phrase that refers to a consequence.

There are many different types of if clauses. For now, we’re only going to focus on the easiest ones: the ones that refer to realistic hypotheses.

Before we go into detail in Italian, let’s have a look at some if clauses in English.

  • If it rains, people don’t go to the beach.
  • If you heat ice, it melts.
  • If you talk to me like that, I won’t come.
  • If we get there late, we’ll miss the train.

As you can see, the if clause indicates the condition, and the other clause refers to the consequence.

If clauses Italian

How to form if clauses in Italian?

In Italian, instead of if we use the short word se. If you spot this tiny word, you’ll know people are talking about a hypothetical situation.

As we said, we’re going to focus on realistic hypotheses. There are four different combinations. We’ll first look at the structures, and we’ll then give you examples for you to understand.

1. Se + present indicative + present indicative

2. Se + present indicative + future indicative

3. Se + future indicative + future indicative

4. Se + present tense + imperative

We use these four combinations to talk about something that’s either happening in the present, that will surely happen soon or has a high chance of happening.

It’s up to you to choose which one you’ll use, depending on what you’re referring to.

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If clauses with se

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

Se: Examples

We’re going to go in order, so make sure you check what we just explained.

Se non capisci, te lo spiego.

If you don’t understand, I will explain it to you.

Se non studio, non passerò l’esame.

If I don’t study, I won’t pass the exam.

Se non verrà, non le parlerò piu.

If she doesn’t come, I won’t speak to her again.

Se vai al supermercato, comprami la pasta.

If you go to the supermarket, buy me some pasta.

Se if clauses

Se is often used together with altrimenti (else, otherwise).

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FAQs on If clause – type 1: Italian grammar lesson 39

What is the "se" rule in Italian?

In Italian, the word "se" is used in place of "if" to indicate a hypothetical situation. This short word is easy to spot in conversation and provides a useful means of expressing conditionality.

What is the if clause in Italian?

In Italian, the "If clauses" are referred to as Periodo Ipotetico. There are three different types of "If clauses": Type 1, which refers to reality; Type 2, which refers to possibility; and Type 3, which refers to impossibility.

Italian word of the day
Vorrei un cappuccino, per favore.
I’d like a cappuccino, please.
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