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


I'm new
kindly help me to improve the sentences..

Hello Rocki,

Welcome to LearnEnglish.  We'll be happy to help you, of course.  Any time you have a question about the material on here, or about English in general, then we'll be happy to try to answer it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter M
Thank you so much

hi im new

Hi, is the following sentence grammatical?

"If you ask me, I would say no."

Yes testuser. .
This sentence is absolutely correct other hand u can say..
IF SHE MET ME, I WOULD HELP HIM. .. I.e she didn't met me

Hello akshaya10,

In fact, testuser's sentence is not correct - see Kirk's answer for details.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello testuser111,

That really depends on the context in which it is used, but in general, no. As I suppose you know, in second conditional sentences the verb after if goes in the past simple: "If you asked me, I would say no."

If, however, "if you ask me" is used as a way of explaining an unsolicited opinion, then it could be used in this way (in the present simple).

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks, Kirk.

Could you explain more about "explaining an unsolicited opinion"? What if the context is sth like this, "If you ask people about their opinions on this issue, they would give different answers."

When I came across this sentence, I thought it's not grammatical either. But then if the "if" here means "when", does it seem ok?

Thanks a lot!

Hi testuser111,

You're welcome! "If you ask people about their opinions on this issue, they would give different answers" is not correct in standard English, though I'm sure that you could find it in speech. This is because we often adjust our meaning as we speak, and of course we can't go back and correct what we've already said. You could also perhaps find it in writing, though I, like you, would prefer to see ask in the past simple (asked).

If we interpret if to mean when (which is certainly possible), then the verb forms would be either ask and give (speaking about the present or in general) or asked and gave (speaking about the past).

When I mentioned the possibility of an unsolicited opinion, I was referring to if you ask me as a way of expressing your opinion. If you look up the phrase in our dictionary (see the search box on the right), you'll see the definition and example. The word unsolicited is also in the dictionary if it is not clear either, but if what I mean here is still not clear after checking the dictionary, please let me know!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team