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Conditionals 2

Do you know how to use third and mixed conditionals?

Look at these examples to see how third and mixed conditionals are used.

We would have walked to the top of the mountain if the weather hadn't been so bad.
If we'd moved to Scotland when I was a child, I would have a Scottish accent now.
If she was really my friend, she wouldn't have lied to me.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Conditionals 2: Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Do you know how to use third and mixed conditionals?

Third conditionals and mixed conditionals

Conditionals describe the result of a certain condition. The if clause tells you the condition (If I hadn't been ill) and the main clause tells you the result (I would have gone to the party). The order of the clauses does not change the meaning.

If I hadn't been ill, I would have gone to the party.
I would have gone to the party if I hadn't been ill.

Conditional sentences are often divided into different types.

Third conditional

The third conditional is used to imagine a different past. We imagine a change in a past situation and the different result of that change.

If I had understood the instructions properly, I would have passed the exam.
We wouldn't have got lost if my phone hadn't run out of battery.

In third conditional sentences, the structure is usually: If + past perfect >> would have + past participle.

Mixed conditionals

We can use mixed conditionals when we imagine a past change with a result in the present or a present change with a result in the past.

1. Past/Present 

Here's a sentence imagining how a change in a past situation would have a result in the present.

If I hadn't got the job in Tokyo, I wouldn't be with my current partner.

So the structure is: If + past perfect >> would + infinitive.

2. Present/Past

Here's a sentence imagining how a different situation in the present would mean that the past was different as well.

It's really important. If it wasn't, I wouldn't have called you on your holiday.

And the structure is: If + past simple >> would have + past participle.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Conditionals 2: Grammar test 2

Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

Hello there my ELT team members. .you did a novel work for the new commerce. ...n after I visited ur site....I sent this link to my family members. .my relatives. .friends. .co -workers...I got a ton of appreciation from them for giving them such type of online ELT platform. .
Eventually all credit goes to ELT members.

Hello,

PETER M, you told me that "The negative of 'had to' is 'didn't have to', not '*hadn't to" (http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/clause-phrase-...)

Do I have to understand that the clauses of the exercise on this page like "if i hadn't eaten...; if you hadn't taken..." have to be writen like " If I didn't have eaten...; If you didn't have taken..." or something like this?
If not; if the clauses are well writen here, can you tell my why the clause "If he hadn't to work he wouldn't be miserable" is not good?

Thanks for your help

Nuras

Hello Nuras,

There is a distinction between the form you quoted on the other page, which is 'have to + infinitive' (as in 'I had to go' and 'I didn't have to go'), and the form you are quoting here, which is 'have' used as an auxiliary verb to make a perfective form (as in 'have + past participle or 'modal verb + have'). The examples on this page are of 'have' used as an auxiliary, which is a different use and has a different negative form.

He had to go > He didn't have to go (not *'He hadn't to go')

but

He had gone > He hadn't gone (not *'He didn't have gone')

He must have gone > I mustn't have gone (not *'He must don't have gone')

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I think that this kind of exercises don't show the right level of knowledge, and I suggest you don to better exercises so that when I finish the exercises I can pass an exam in every situation.

Hello Fifademo,

I'm sorry that you find these exercises unsatisfactory. Our intention is for you to be able to test yourself on the basic information presented on the page, not to provide comprehensive practice or to prepare you for an exam. In fact, every exam is different, so it's difficult to imagine a set of exercises that would prepare you for every exam you could encounter.

If you're concerned about exams, I'd suggest you work on preparing yoursel for that specific exam. For example, if you're going to take the IELTS, be sure to take a look at our IELTS section.

Good luck!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello The LearnEnglish Team,

About the use of comma to separate the if-clause and the main clause. I've seen in other sites that we always use comma to do this if we use the if-clause first, but in some examples in that section I haven't seen this, like in "If I’d studied harder at school I would have gone to university." and "If he’d gone to university he might have a better job.". So, is the comma optional or not?

Thanks!

Carlos.

Hello chfurlan,

As with much (though not all) punctuation, there is a lot of variance in terms of what is considered acceptable. There is no absolute rule that commas must be used in conditionals, and they can seem out of place where the sentence does not have a natural break, such as when there is an imperative form in the result clause:

If you get lost in the town then ask for some help.

Although you can find sources which provide very hard and inflexible rules for the use of commas in conditional sentences, I don't feel that these reflect English as it is used today. My advice would be to say the sentence to yourself and if it feels natural to put a pause in the sentence when you say it, then a comma is a good idea - as in this sentence!

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir what does it mean...if i won a lottery,i would buy a big house.....?what basically it is showing.....present unreal or future and why.....?

Hi
First of all, thanks a lot for such a great material.
I was wondering if this is correct:
If he’d gone to university he could have had a better job.

Basically I got in doubt because I think, in the first example above, the second part of the conditional sentence should imply some kind of an unreal sense; because he doesn't have a better job now. But I don't get that unreal sense by using "might".

Thanks in advance

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