Conditionals 2

 

Third conditionals and mixed conditionals

Conditionals are sentences with two clauses – an ‘if clause and a main clause – that are closely related. Conditional sentences are often divided into different types.

Third conditional

Third conditional sentences describe the past. They describe something that didn’t happen.

  • If I’d studied harder at school I would have gone to university.

He didn’t study very hard and he didn’t go to university.

  • We wouldn’t have got lost if you hadn’t given me the wrong directions.

She wasn't given the correct directions and she didn't find her way.

  • She might have finished the exam if she’d had more time.

She didn't finish the exam and she didn't have more time.

In third conditional sentences, the structure is usually if + past perfect and would + perfect infinitive (e.g. have done). It’s not important which clause comes first.

Notice that other modal verbs can be used instead of ‘would’ (e.g. ‘could’, ‘might’ ‘may’)

Mixed conditionals

In mixed conditional sentences the time in the ‘if’ clause is not the same as the time in the main clause. There can be various combinations.

  • If he’d gone to university he might have a better job.

He didn’t go to university (past)
He doesn’t have a very good job. (present)
This sentence shows the present consequences of a past action.

  • If I’d won the competition I’d be going to Florida next week.

She didn’t win the competition (past)
She isn’t going to Florida (future)
This sentence shows the future consequences of a past action.

  • If he didn’t have to work tomorrow he wouldn’t be so miserable today.

He has to work tomorrow (future)
He’s miserable. (present)
This sentence shows the present consequence of a future event.

 

Exercise

Comments

Hello everybody!
Need help with mixed conditionals. Is this sentence correct: "I would make it if I hadn't tried it before and failed" ? So I want to say that I can make it now but I already did it before with no result so I'm not going to do that again.
Thank you in advance!
Best wishes,
Vugar

Hello Vugar19,

In terms of verb forms the sentence is fine (I would... if I hadn't... before). However, we would probably say 'I would try to make it' if we know or believe that we are not able to do it. If we say 'I would make it...' then it sounds like we are able to do it but choose not to because we don't want to.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

How can told me some grammer book's that i need to start my study at university...!!

Hi Holman,

I'm afraid that we can't recommend specific titles. If you do some internet searches for 'English grammar for students', I expect you'll see some titles repeated on different pages - that's probably a good indication of a quality book.

Good luck!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,
Thank you very much for the clarification about "Have". My other Question is about " 's" . we say ,for example, David 's friend or my friend's name to show possession. If we have several " 'S " do we use just last 's ? For example which one of this question is right? " David friend 's name" or David's friend's name.
Best Regards
Shadyar

Hi shadyar,

Could you please ask this on our possessives: nouns page? We'll then answer it there, of course; it's just that we'd like other users to be able to benefit from your question, and those who have the same question will be much more likely to find it on that page.

Thanks.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I'm new to this forum and I need some help.
I tried to navigate to a topic that can be the better described by the sentence:'I see me working in the future as a financial advisor'.
Could you help me to find this topic in an English grammar as I'd like to figure out the use and structure of it thoroughly.

All the best,
Marek

Hello again Mareq,

There is a useful page on the topic of verbs of perception (such as 'see') + the bare infinitive or verb in the -ing form at the BBC, but the use in the sentence you ask about is a little different. As that page explains, the -ing form after a verb of perception usually indicates something that is seen in progress. In the case of the statement you ask about, it's a prediction about the future, but by using the -ing form you are making a strong statement, as if you are really looking into the future and seeing yourself at that moment.

I hope that helps you.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear friends,
My daughter is a student at elementary school, Mostar BiH.
The other day she complained to me that she had difficulty memorising a constraction of the verb have to..
What l found in her notebook shocked me..it said that we use inversion to form question and there was an example Have l to go?
I told her that it was incorrect and explained it to her...
The teacher at school tried to convince her and the other kids that the English used it in the past and that it was correct usage... Please can you comment this...
Anamarija

Hello Anamarija,

Your daughter's teacher is correct in saying that this form was used in the past. It's not a bad thing to learn, but it would sound strange, or even affected, to use it in most contexts. In the majority of varieties of English spoken nowadays, the auxiliary verb 'do' is used to form questions with 'have' (when 'have' is the main verb): 'Do I have to go?'

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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