Do you know how to use third and mixed conditionals?

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.



Language level

Upper intermediate: B2


What is difference between words technically and literally???

Hello innocentashish420

Please look these words up in a dictionary -- I think that should clarify it for you. If not, please give a specific example and tell us a little more of what you understand or don't understand and we'll try to help you.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I would like to ask a question about the previous lesson grammar . There was an example says "If Arsenal win they will be top of the league" Arsenal as a team consists of 11 players is plural ,but as one unit it's singular. So my question here is "it's treated as plural in the example so can I treat it as singular " and what is the rule i should follow about this

Hello Roman...

That's very observant of you to notice that. In British English, we often use a plural verb with a collective noun, i.e. a noun that refers to a group of people. This is why the sentence says 'If Arsenal win ...'. You might hear some speakers of British English say 'If Arsenal wins', but in my experience most people say it the way it's written here.

In American English, 'If Arsenal wins' is the only commonly used form for this kind of thing.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Can I invert?
If I were your sister, I'd always help you.
Were I your sister, I'd ....

How to make inversion of this sentence

If I won the lottery, I'd be really happy.

Thank you,Sir

Hello Risa warysha

Yes, you can invert the sentence like that. The inversion only happens in the first part, so the complete sentence would be 'Were I your sister, I'd always help you' and the other one would be 'Were I to win the lottery, I'd be really happy'. It sounds odd to say that, though, as inversion makes the sentence quite formal and saying 'I'd be really happy' doesn't sound very formal.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

if it weren't for that, I would have failed.
if it hadn't been for that, I would have failed.
Do these mean the same thing or can they be interpreted differently?

Thank you.

Hello sam61

You could use both of them to speak about something that happened that allowed you to succeed at something. There's no real difference in meaning in general. Perhaps in a very specific context one or the other would be better, but off the top of my head I can't think of one.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

In the second conditional "be" case, is "were" used for nouns too?
for example, If the company were successful, it would benefit the local region.
Does this work or should I have to use "was" instead?

Hello sam61,

Yes, you can use 'were' here. In modern English both 'was' and 'were' are used in these hypothetical sentences, though 'was' is considered poor style by many people.



The LearnEnglish Team