Lesson by Kerin.
Post updated Mar 2022
Learn 6 ways to use the word ‘IF’ to improve your English when you speak and write email at work.
- English level: intermediate, upper intermediate & advanced / B1, B2 & C1
- English Skills: advanced grammar; speaking & writing
- Time: 5-10 mins
Did you know that this little word … ‘IF’ … has many functions in English?! Read on to discover an easy way to upgrade your English fluency!
1. How to use ‘if’ to give advice
We often use the phrase If I were you to give advice.
If I were you, I’d look for a new job.
I’d try speaking with her again if I were you.
Click here to learn more about the second conditional
2. How to use ‘if’ to make an offer
The phrases If you like or If you want are often used to introduce offers.
- I’ll help at the trade fair, if you like.
- If you like I can pick you up on the way to the event.
3. How to use ‘if’ to ask permission
We can use if in requests for permission after the phrases Is it OK/all right and with the phrases Do you mind/Would you mind…
- Is it ok if I leave early tomorrow?
- Is it all right if Mark joins the meeting?
- Do you mind if I don’t attend the conference call tomorrow?
For more on polite language see 5 reasons to use polite English in negotiations
4. How to use ‘if’ to make a promise or talk about future possibility
We can use IF in 1st conditional sentences to talk about the possible future. This is often used when you want to make a promise.
- If you buy the latest model, we will give you a free service next year.
- I’ll definitely move there if we open the new office in London.
Want to know your English level?
5. How to use ‘if’ to make a suggestion
We can use the 1st and 2nd conditional sentences with if to make suggestions for action
- If you want that job, you should get a certificate of English.
- If you had invested in that company you would be rich by now.
6. How to use ‘if’ to make a request
The phrase I would be grateful if you could is a polite way of making a request. Other phrases that are similar are I was wondering if you would… and I’d appreciate it if you could …
- I’d be grateful if you could send me a copy of your catalogue?
- I was wondering if I could have a quote by Friday?
Need more practice? Learn perfect polite English with our Business English Masterclass
1. See if you can match the ‘IF’ phrase to the function
2. Match the phrases to make full sentences
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