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


Hello akshaya10,

Both 'thy' and 'thine' are in our dictionary - you'll see there that they are no longer used in modern English. You can find them in older literature (e.g. Shakespeare), but in any other ordinary context they would sound very strange, and perhaps not be understood by some.

Similarly, you can find 'get rid of' in our dictionary (search for 'get rid of') with both definitions and examples of use. After studying the dictionary entries, feel free to write some example sentences and submit there to try them out.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Kirk sir for your satisfied retort. ...
As I admit you a dynamic leader for the new generation who has will to learn English I've query regarding my self confidence and my goal setting . I've weakness on God and don't how to relinquish this ...plz sir share some idea about this ...Therefore ill be indebted to you
Thanks waiting for your next comment
Akshaya 10

Hello akshaya10,

I'd recommend that you set ambitious but achievable and specific goals. In other words, it's good to work to learn, but make sure that you have a plan to accomplish a specific goal. For example, if you want to improve your listening comprehension, you could set a goal such as:

Goal: Be able to understand approximately 50% of what Ashlie and Stephen say in a Word on the Street episode.
Plan: Listen to one episode three times without the transcript, and then twice with the transcript. Then listen twice again without the transcript. Write down and learn new vocabulary and phrases.

If you follow this plan with one episode and don't meet success, try again. Do it several times and you should gradually reach your goal. As for confidence, normally it will come with increasing knowledge and ability. It normally takes a lot of practice, but be patient with yourself and don't give up.

I hope this helps you. As you work, please let us know if you have questions, and also please let us know how you get on.

Good luck!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everybody!
Need help with mixed conditionals. Is this sentence correct: "I would make it if I hadn't tried it before and failed" ? So I want to say that I can make it now but I already did it before with no result so I'm not going to do that again.
Thank you in advance!
Best wishes,

Hello Vugar19,

In terms of verb forms the sentence is fine (I would... if I hadn't... before). However, we would probably say 'I would try to make it' if we know or believe that we are not able to do it. If we say 'I would make it...' then it sounds like we are able to do it but choose not to because we don't want to.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

How can told me some grammer book's that i need to start my study at university...!!

Hi Holman,

I'm afraid that we can't recommend specific titles. If you do some internet searches for 'English grammar for students', I expect you'll see some titles repeated on different pages - that's probably a good indication of a quality book.

Good luck!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,
Thank you very much for the clarification about "Have". My other Question is about " 's" . we say ,for example, David 's friend or my friend's name to show possession. If we have several " 'S " do we use just last 's ? For example which one of this question is right? " David friend 's name" or David's friend's name.
Best Regards

Hi shadyar,

Could you please ask this on our possessives: nouns page? We'll then answer it there, of course; it's just that we'd like other users to be able to benefit from your question, and those who have the same question will be much more likely to find it on that page.


Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

I'm new to this forum and I need some help.
I tried to navigate to a topic that can be the better described by the sentence:'I see me working in the future as a financial advisor'.
Could you help me to find this topic in an English grammar as I'd like to figure out the use and structure of it thoroughly.

All the best,