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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

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

Hi Mozhdeh,

Yes, that sentence is fine. You know the situation is unreal from the first part of the sentence and both 'could' and 'might' also give a sense of something unreal, but with slightly different emphasis.

Best wishes,

Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much, I get it clear now.

Hello, can you tell about difference between "should be" and "must be"
Are they the same or not, in what sentences we use should be and must be
thanks again for great cooperation

Hi, i am new here. Thanks for providing such a great learning platform.
Sir I have a little confusion and wish you to resolve it..
Above, in last sentence you have used past simple in if clause.
Could we use present simple instead of using past simple.

Thank you in advance

Hi Syed sami ul haq,

It is possible to use the present simple in the if-clause, but the meaning is then changed. We use [if + present... (then) will + verb] for likely or real events, and [if + past... (then) would + verb] for unlikely or unreal events.

You can find more information on these types of conditional sentences, sometimes called first and second conditional forms, on this page.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, could you please explain me if I use present simple in the sentence what meaning it will give and if pasr simple is used what will be the difference in meaning. If possible explain it using example. Because it is quite difficult for me to recognize what situation it is, I mean likely or unlikely.

Thanks

Hi Syed,

In general, this is the difference between the first conditional (present simple after 'if') and the second conditional (past simple after 'if'), which are explained on our Conditionals 1 page. The key difference is subjective - if you regard something as possible or likely, then you should use the first conditional. On the other hand, if you regard it as unlikely or impossible, then use the second conditional. Please see the examples on the page I mention. If it's still unclear, please let us know on that page.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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