Conditionals: third and mixed

Conditionals: third and mixed

Do you know how to use third conditionals and mixed conditionals? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

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

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Submitted by Risa warysha on Tue, 25/06/2019 - 12:05

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

Submitted by sam61 on Sun, 23/06/2019 - 15:49

hi, 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.
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Mon, 24/06/2019 - 09:48

In reply to by sam61


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

Submitted by sam61 on Mon, 17/06/2019 - 19:28

Hi, 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?
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Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 18/06/2019 - 06:51

In reply to by sam61


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

Submitted by rosario70 on Mon, 17/06/2019 - 09:51

Hi teachers, i would like to ask you two questions. 1) you would not have won the gold medal unless you (had worked out) work out hard. May i use the presente tense. 2) if i had waited for further ten minutes i would have met him. In this second one i was wondering if it was a most informal way to use in the speaking skill so that i may be fluent and fast. Thanks in advance.

Hello rosario70

In 1, the only tnese that is grammatically correct for that verb is a past perfect form. I'd recommend: 'You wouldn't have won the gold medal if you hadn't worked out hard.'

In 2, 'would have met' is the only correct form. In informal speaking,we usually use contractions and short forms to speak more quickly: 'I would've met him' (pronounced /aɪ wʊdəv mɛtɪm/) or even 'I'd've met him' (pronounced /aɪdəv mɛtɪm/).

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Wed, 12/06/2019 - 17:59

Hello. Today, We had a discussion group about conditionals and we had different opinions about the following sentence: - If you are a well-organised person, you manage, will manage your time. Some teachers say that "manage" is the only correct answer while others and I didn't agree with them as we thought that "will manage" is equally correct especially there was no more context. Please, which one is correct? Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,
Both 'manage' and 'will manage' are grammatically correct, but there is a difference in use.

If you say 'manage' then you are making a general comment - saying something that is always true. The sentence effectively means this is what all well-organised people do.

We use 'will manage' in two ways. The most common is to talk about a particular situation in the future: if you are a well-organised person then you will manage your time [this weekend/at college/so you can spend time with us etc]

Another use is 'will' as a sign of expectation. In this case, the speaker would be saying if you are a well-organised person then you will probably manage your time well.


I hope that helps to clarify it for you.


The LearnEnglish Team