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.





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

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.


Best wishes,
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,

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,
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 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...

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,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for your reply. I have read in some texts, question forms in which "have" is used as an auxiliary verb. Questions like "Have you any brothers or sisters?" or "Have you an appointment?" If we can use "have" as an auxiliary verb , consequently this form of question " How many brothers has David?" can be used.

Hello shadyar,

This use of the verb 'have' without the auxiliary verb 'do' used to be more common, especially in literary or formal contexts, but is difficult to find any more in most varieties of spoken and written English. Nowadays, people still understand it, but in most cases it would sound strange or even affected. I wouldn't recommend using it in general.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,
So finally, the correct version sounds like:'how many brothers does Peter have?', am I right?

All the best,

Hi Mareq,

Yes, that is correct - good work!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team