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For the most part, conditions are expressed via the use of one of the following conjunctions:

assuming (that)
or else
provided (that)
providing (that)

The sentences below illustrate the use of three of these conjunctions.

You can come in provided that you take off your shoes.

You can't come into my house unless you take off your shoes.

Take off your shoes, or else you cannot come into my house.

These kinds of sentences can be very challenging to deaf students. The three sentences above are similar in meaning. However, notice the relationship between the condition and the "consequence" when the above sentences are expressed using the conjunction if.

You can come in if you take off your shoes.

You can't come into my house if you do not take off your shoes.

If you do not take off your shoes, you cannot come into my house.

For the first sentence, the if can replace provided that without needing to change the structure of the sentence. However, the second two sentences express "negative conditions," which students (and teachers) must be particularly careful with. In the second sentence, it becomes clear that unless in the first set of sentences actually means if … not. Thus, unless you take off … in the first set is expressed as if you do not take off… in the second set. This shows that the clause is a negative condition.

The complexity of meaning and structure is also apparent in the third sentence of each set of sentences above. Not only does the negative condition become apparent in the second set through the use of if … not, but the conditional clause in the first set (or else …) becomes the main clause in the second set (you cannot …), and the main clause becomes the conditional clause (If you do not take off …). The complexity of such relationships and the associated sentence structures can be a significant problem for deaf students in both reading comprehension and written expression.

Conjunctive Adverbs and the Conditional Relationship

Conjunctive adverbs that introduce a condition:


as illustrated in the following sentence:

You had better register; otherwise, you won't be able to vote.

Prepositions and the Conditional Relationship

There are no prepositions that introduce a condition.