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.




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,
The LearnEnglish Team

If he didn’t have to work tomorrow he wouldn’t be so miserable today.
is it right to say " if he will not have to work tomorrow....." ?
is there a specific structure of the mixed conditional?
please answer me MR. PETER M

hi i have a qshn may u please help me ?
what is the answer and more important why ?
I preferred that
1=stayed 2=has stayed 3=staying 4=stay ?
dont we use s after she ? i mean it must be stays but there is no such a thing!

Hello StrangeGr,

We don't answer exercise questions for users here - that is your job! However, I can tell you that 'prefer' can be followed by several structures:

prefer to do sth

prefer sb to do sth

prefer doing sth

prefer sb doing sth

prefer (that) sb do sth ['do' is the subjunctive form; it is also possible to use 'does' here in modern English]

prefer (that) sb did sth

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

hi i am new here , i want to improve my english ,i heard somewhere that by regular communication you can learn any language ,so that's why i want to talk to some one.

sorry if I introduce myself here, but I need to communicate to someone in order to know how to get a quick help. I mean, if there is a place here, where people can ask about doubts and to learn English.

Hi Fade, you can post your questions through comments if you have any doubt about any topic.