Protases ('if'-clauses) in the North West Caucasian language Abkhaz are mostly marked by either /-r/ or /-zα.r/, depending on the tense and/or type of verb (Stative or Dynamic) concerned. The article presents examples of this conditional usage and the role of protasis-type forms in both temporal and interrogative expressions as well as in complementiser-function. The complementisers in question share the semantic feature of irrealis with conditionals. A rhotic element is also found in the non-finite form of the Future I tense, in the Masdar (verbal noun), and in such converbs as the Purposives, the Resultative and the Future Absolute. The article attempts to link the semantic notions of futurity, potentiality, indefiniteness or general irrealis to the rhotic element and asks what might have been the historical development resulting in the forms attested today and thus their original morphological segmentation.