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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. Could you please help me? Is "have got" in the following sentence correct?
- The students are very surprised if I have got all their names right.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam

I would say 'I get' here, but I think it's fine to say 'have got' here.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello.
I am unsure about how i should use adverbs of time in conditionals, especially the 2nd conditional.

1. If you went to bed yesterday, you would not be so tired. <- (2nd)
2. If you had gone to bed yesterday, you would not be so tired. <- (mixed)

I think that 2 is correct and 1 isn't. I know 2 is correct because it is a mixed conditional sentence that refers to an unreal past condition and its probable result in the present, which is why i can use the past adverb of time "yesterday" in the conditional clause. But i am unsure about using the past adverb of time "yesterday" in 1 because i haven't seen any examples where a past adverb of time is used in the 2nd conditional.
Is the 1st sentence grammatically incorrect with the past adverb of time in the 2nd conditional? or are sentences 1 & 2 interchangeable when using the past adverb of time?
thank you.

Hello jumairs,

Both sentences are grammatically correct, but there is a difference in meaning.

The second sentence describes a past situation which did not happen (an unreal past) and a present result which is not true (unreal present). There is no ambiguity in this sentence: it deals with events which we know did not happen/are not true.

The first sentence describes a past situation which may be true (a possible past) and a present result which may be true (possible present), but which the speaker may find doubtful. You can think of this sentence as having the following meaning:

If it is true that you went to bed yesterday, then I would expect that you would not be so tired.

We might use this sentence when we are doubtful about a person's claim. For example, if a person says that they went to bed yesterday, but we aren't sure if it is true because they look so tired.

 

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hello. In this sentence from Unay: I would have liked nothing more than to have achieved better results for you. could you please explain "to have achieved" why don't we use " to achieve"?

Hello MortazaAyabenzer,

Both forms are possible here. The perfect infinitive (to have achieved) adds emphasis to the fact that the action is no longer possible, but this is already clear from the first part of the sentence.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hello. in this sentence: If you’ve been paying attention, you might have worked it out. I picked from BBC 6 minute courses. I am confused.because in 3rd conditional we should use past perfect in if part. but here is "have been paying" can you clarify why has he ignored the rule?

Hello MortazaAyabenzer

That is not a third conditional. 'have been paying' is present perfect continuous, which is essentially talking about the present, not an unreal past tense. Thus it's like a first conditional.

Does that help you make sense of it?

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, this is part of news in Indian daily :

The state’s Act, if implemented, will allow groups like Deccan Education Society (including Fergusson) to form their own cluster universities.

' If implemented ...' it is in second conditional ; should it not be would( and not will ) in the result clause - like:
The state's act,if implemented, would allow groups like Deccan Education Society (including Fergusson) to form their own cluster universities.

Regards

Dipak Gandhi

Hello dipakrghandhi,

The sentence contains a reduced passive form which could be a present or a past form:

The state's Act, if it is implemented, will allow...

The state's Act, if it were implemented, would allow...

The use of will in the second clause tells us that the speaker is using a likely/real conditional; that is, they consider the situation in the if-clause to be a realistic possibility.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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