Read the grammar explanation and do the exercise.

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.

 

Exercise

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Comments

Hello, sir. I'm in an English course. I've got a question about conditional sentence type 2. Is it correct if I use 'was' as tobe for She/He/It? For example;
- If she was my girlfriend, I would kiss her.
- If it was sunny, I'd go picnic.

Because I find my self that 'were' is used by those three subjects mostly. Could you please give me more explanation?

Thank you, sir!

Hello Hakuna Matata,

I would suggest you use the form that your teacher recommends, but I can explain this a bit more. Traditionally, 'were' was the correct verb for any subject in the if-clause of a second conditional construction. Nowadays, however, people often use 'was' when the subject is 'I' or 'he', 'she' or 'it' (as in your sentences). So most people would probably say your example sentences are correct, but some teachers might not.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

if it were up to me i would have killed you a long time ago ??? correct

Hello omar123,

Yes, that is a correct sentence - though it needs capitalisation.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

If clause verb tense : simple past ( it were ) which means that Main clause verb tense should be (would + infinitive ) while in the example that i gave we have (would + present perfect) and please can you explain more capitalisation

Hello omar123,

The conditional is a mixed conditional. The first part refers to a general hypothetical condition and the second refers to what you would have done in the past if the condition were true. It's similar to this example:

If I were a more ambitious person I would have chosen to become a politician, not a teacher.

The condition is a statement about my character which is about all time. The result is a statement of how I would have behaved in my past, given that condition.

In both sentences you could use a past perfect: If it had been up to me and If I had been a more ambitious person. In this case the condition is placed in the past and refers to one moment in the past. By using the past simple (...it were up to me... and ...I were...) the condition is made more general and applies to all time.

 

Capitalisation refers to the use of capital letters. A sentence needs to start with a capital letter, not a small letter, and the first person pronoun I is always capitalised.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Mr Peter even though i didn't really understand the mixed conditional

can you please explain a little bit more about the mixed conitional

Hello omar123,

The phrase 'mixed conditional' means simply that there are different time references in each half of the sentence.

 

What we call a first conditional, for example, has the same time reference: the if-clause refers to a real or likely present or future and the result clause refers to a real or likely present or future. A second conditional is similar, with each clause referring to an unlikely or imaginary present or future. In a third conditional both halves refer to an imaginary past.

 

In a mixed conditional we have one time reference in the if-clause and a different one in the result clause. For example, we might have an if-clause which refers to an imaginary past and a result clause which refers to an imaginary present.

 

All conditionals must be consistent in the sense that they must either be about a real situation or an imaginary one; we cannot mix these.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hi. thank you.

is this sentence correct
"If it did happen, keep doing it."

Best.

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