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

hi all , i am fresh graduate and i want to learn English in order to improve my career Opportunities , any one help me please?and from where i can start ?

Hi Esra'a Al'Alem,

Have you looked at our Help page? You can find suggestions on how to get started there, as well as many other tips.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi
First of all, thanks a lot for such a great material.

I have a sentence and I'm not sure if it's correct or not.
Imagine we are designing an FAQ page for a website and we want to ask people to send their questions to us, so that we can improve the page. would this sentence be grammatically correct:
"We will consider your question and add it to this page if it was in fact a frequent one."
I'm not sure if it's right to use future tense and past tense together.

Thanks in advance

Hello Mozhdeh,

I would recommend changing 'was' to 'is', but otherwise that sentence is perfect!

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everybody

I have a serious doubt with mixed conditionals. Could anybody tell me if we can use "should" into a 3rd conditional phrase?
e.g: If she had taken the second choice, she should have told the manger

Thanks in advance!

Hello gaullanos,

No, this sentence doesn't make sense. Please note that 'should have' is different from 'should' - 'should' refers to the present or future, whereas 'should have' refers to the past.

Depending on what you want to say, you might want to say 'If she took the second choice, she would have to tell the manager' or 'If she had taken the second choice, she would have had to tell the manager'. Does either of these make sense?

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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