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

Etiquetas

Comments

Hi bainsoo,

The problem with your sentence is that it mixes real and unreal contexts, and so it not correct. The alternatives would be as follows:

If I had kissed the girl, I would have to apologise to her.  (describing a situation in the past which I do not believe to be true, and a future consequence)

If I kissed the girl, I will have to apologise to her.  (describing a situation in the past which I do believe to be true, and a future consequence)

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I have another question.

I realized that one of my friend was very short of money last year. But he did not asked anything to me. So I say

"Why didn't you ask me to lend you some money at that time?
If I had money, I could have lent you some."

Does it make sense?

Hello bainsoo,

In this situation we would say one of the following:

If I had had money, I could have lent you some. [if you did not have money and are talking about an entirely hypothetical situation]

I had money, I could have lent you some. [if you had money and so the lending was possible]

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

OOPs,
I just realize that I asked a stupid question.
Please forget about the latest question.

So, in the second sentense, there shouldn't be "IF" at the beginning of the setense?
Without "IF", can it be hypothetical?

Sorry about the continuing questions.

Which one is right? 1)If I had lots of money ,I would help the poor or 2)If I had lots of money I would have helped the poor.

Hello ANUPREET KAUR,

The first one is correct. The verb 'had' in the first clause has a present or future meaning (even though the form is past), and so the second clause should not have a past meaning. Therefore the second sentence is incorrect.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hii.
please tell me where should i use "Would " and "Would have"? and what are correct sentences given below and their correct formation ?
a) if there was camera in street, theives would be caught.
b)if i had not reminded you, you would forget
c)if i had not stopped him , pictures would have been deleted.

Hello kausar chawla,

The context matters in deciding this. For example, in your first sentence you can say:

If there was a camera in the street, thieves would be caught.

or

If there was a camera in the street, the thieves would have been caught.

The first sentence describes a general fact. The second refers to a specific instance of stealing.

For the other sentences the most likely forms are as follows:

If i had not reminded you, you have forgetten.

If i had not stopped him, the pictures would have been deleted.

Please note that we do not normally provide a service of correcting lists of sentences, or of helping with exercises, tests or homework from elsewhere. If we tried then we'd have no time for anything else!

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi LearnEnglish team,
Kindly tell me about the sentence that i have presented below whether it is first conditional that emphasizes present or not

- I will be in trouble if she knows me

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