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Consider the following sentence with a first conditional:

If it rains tomorrow, I will go to the cinema.

All the examples of first conditionals that I found use "will" instead of "would." Is it possible to replace "will" with "would" while retaining the same exact meaning, i.e.,

If it rains tomorrow, I would go to the cinema.

Or, would I have to put the inflected verb in preterite form (as mentioned in this related posting), like this:

If it rained tomorrow, I would go to the cinema.

[Edit 1: I clarified that I want to retain the same meaning among these examples.]

[Edit 2: Corrected silly mistake where the first example was the same as the second example.]

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Will implies it is absolutely going to happen. Would implies it -might- happen. – dotsamuelswan Apr 26 '13 at 20:24
No, the first one doesn't have the same meaning. RoDaSm's answer is correct: "If it rains tomorrow, I would go to the cinema" is conditional advice suggesting that the person you're talking to should go to the cinema in the case of rain. – Peter Shor Apr 26 '13 at 20:49
“It is clear that a division of conditionals into the zero, first, second, and third categories does not adequately reflect actual usage.” —from “If only it were true: the problem with the four conditionals”, Christian Jones and Daniel Waller, ELT Journal 65:1 pp 24–32 (2011), Oxford University Press, doi: 10.1093/elt/ccp101. – tchrist Jan 24 '15 at 14:34
up vote 8 down vote accepted

You have a mixed conditional, not a first conditional. Your sentence gives advice to another person, and is not a statement of you own personal purpose. If it rains, I will go tomorrow is a statement of what you would do given the condition of If it rains. If it rains, I would go tomorrow is advice given to another person as to their best actions given the condition If it rains. In spoken English it would be said as If it rains, I'd go tomorrow. If it rained, I would go tomorrow is a conditional that suggest that you will perform an action that you do not think is likely to happen.

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Yes, I agree with Peter Shor: excellent answer. – user19148 Apr 26 '13 at 21:45

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