Using "Unless"

Unless means the same as if...not. Like if, unless is followed by a present tense, a past tense, or a past perfect tense (never by a conditional). Unless is used instead of if...not in conditional sentences of all types. The order of the clauses doesn't matter with sentences using unless.

Type 1 conditional: Unless + present tense
With If Equivalent with Unless
You will be sick if you don't stop eating. You'll be sick unless you stop eating.
I won't pay if you don't provide the goods immediately. I won't pay unless you provide the goods immediately.
If you don't study dilligently, you'll never understand trigonometry. Unless you study dilligently, you'll never understand trigonometry.
Type 2 conditional: Unless + past tense
With If Equivalent with Unless
If he wasn't very ill, he would be at work. Unless he was very ill, he would be at work.
I wouldn't eat that food if I wasn't really hungry. I wouldn't eat that food unless I was really hungry.
She would be here by now if she wasn't stuck in traffic. She would be here by now unless she was stuck in traffic.
Type 3 conditional: Unless + past perfect
With If Equivalent with Unless
Our director would not have signed the contract if she hadn't had a lawyer present. Our director would not have signed the contract unless she had had a lawyer present.
I wouldn't have phoned him if you hadn't suggested it. I wouldn't have phoned him unless you'd suggested it.
They would have shot her if she hadn't given them the money. They would have shot her unless she'd given them the money.

 

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