David Maule has worked in Sierra Leone, Turkey, and Yugoslavia and is now a lecturer in EFL/ESL at Stevenson College of Further Education, Edinburgh. Since 1983 he has lectured on Grammar and Communication at the British Council Summer School at Stirling University. He holds an MA in Linguistics and ELT from the University of Leeds.
This article looks at the rather restricted selection of conditional sentences which tends to be presented to students. It cites one case of the damage to a student's natural development which this might cause and, on the basis of a fairly small sample of the language in use, points to the limited application of these structures. The article also indicates a whole area of meaning which is more or less ignored by current coursebooks and pedagogic grammars.