Author: Favour Ogedegge (Nigeria) | Published on 1 March 2024


Future Possibilities is an interactive and practical lesson that helps learners understand and use the first conditional to talk about possible future situations and their likely results.

Stage 1: Introduction

Begin the lesson by discussing with students the concept of cause and effect in real-life situations. To do this, draw a picture of a man on the board and attach a thought bubble. In the bubble, write 'I have an interview tomorrow, but my best friend’s wedding is tomorrow as well.'

Ask: 'What happens if he doesn't attend his best friend's wedding?' 'What happens if he misses his interview?' Encourage students to provide their own responses.

Stage 2: Presentation

Explain the concept of the first conditional by emphasising the fact that it is used to show future possibilities. Write an example sentence on the board or one based on the students’ ideas from Stage 1.

Example: If John misses the wedding, his best friend will be upset.

Ask concept-checking questions to check the students understand the sentence (Note: the questions change depending on the context you choose)

  • Are we talking about the future or the present? (Future)
  • Is it possible that this will happen in the future? (Yes)
  • How probable is it that John will miss the wedding? (50/50)
  • How certain is it that his best friend will be upset? (100%)

Elicit the sentence form by asking the following questions and marking the verbs using the example on the board:

  • Where are the verbs in the sentences?
  • What tense is used in the first part of the sentence?
  • What tense is used in the second part of the sentence?
  • What comes after 'If'?

Stage 3: Practice

Write the following sentence stems on the board or dictate them for the students to write in their notebooks:

  1. If I wake up late tomorrow,________________
  2. If she misses the bus,________
  3. If John fails his exams,________
  4. If my mother returns early from work,________________
  5. If Jane collects the money,_________

Tell the students to complete the sentences with their own ideas. Fast Finishers can create their own first conditional sentences.

Stage 4: Production

Tell the learners you are going to the cinema tonight and write 'If I go to the cinema tonight…' on the board. Elicit what will happen. For example, 'If I go to the cinema tonight I will buy popcorn.' Then write 'If I buy popcorn…' and elicit how that sentence can be completed.

Next, give each student a piece of paper and tell them to write a sentence on it about what they are going to do tonight.

When they are finished, they pass the sentence on to the student next to them. The student then makes a conditional sentence using the information and passes it on to the next student who writes another one. The papers go round the room until they return to the student who wrote the first sentence. When all the students have written sentences, the whole story can be read aloud.

Stage 5: Feedback

T corrects any errors with the grammar with the students and reviews the main points of the form.