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.





Hi leonardo999,

The exact time reference for the sentence depends on the context in which it is used. By itself, it can have both a present and a future time reference; which is relevant in a given context depends upon that context. Most likely, this sentence refers to a present state (the woman knowing him or not) and the results in the future (the speaker being in trouble), but it depends on the context.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi LearnEnglish team,

Is it possible to convert first conditional (future) into first conditional (present) as given below::

- if i have his number, i will give it to you. (future)

- if i have his number, i will give it to you. (present)

if it is possible to convert that particular sentence from future into present that what does it suggest ? i mean what's the context ?

Hello leonardo999,

There is no conversion needed. The sentence can have both present and future meaning; it depends on the context. If the 'knowing' is about the time of speaking ('if she knows me now') then it has present meaning; if the 'knowing' is about the future ('if she knows me when she sees me') then it has a future meaning.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

"Conditional one" is too hard for classification,Sir?
Can you give me a simple explanation!
Your's Sincerely,

Kindly indicate whether the following sentence is grammatically correct:

If I would have been winning on the preliminaries , I would have been registered my candidature on the elections.


Hello MayelaM,

No, that sentence is not correct. We would not use 'would' in the if-clause, and the 'been' is not correct in the second clause. The correct sentence would be as follows:

If I had been winning in the preliminaries, I would have registered my candidature for the elections.

Please note that we cannot always check examples like this for our users. Our role here is to help users with the material on the site, or to explain points from the pages, not to check sentences. With so many users of LearnEnglish it's just not possible for us to be teachers for everyone!

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for correcting the phrase using a conditional form (hypothetical situation in the past)

The one I wrote uses the conditional perfect progressive tense, is there a section on this site that touch this topic? I would like to know how to form a sentence using the main clause in the mentioned tense and a subordinated clause in a different one.

Thanks again

Hello MayelaM,

The difference is the same as that between simple and progressive forms in any context: the progressive forms shows an action in progress and, therefore, incomplete.

If I had been winning in the preliminaries...  [the election was not yet finished; I was leading]

If I had won in the preliminaries...  [the election was finished; I was the winner]

This is the only page we have on this topic.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, which conditional is this sentence :If you can’t repair your headphones, you night need new ones.?