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

Average: 4.2 (117 votes)

Submitted by Inglés Excelen… on Fri, 13/09/2019 - 19:05

In reply to by sasham

Hi Sasham, Yes, your sentence is in the third conditional form. 'Been' is the past participle of the verb 'be' which is used here as an auxiliary verb to express a passive situation. Compare these two sentences: 'Sarah shocked her father when she told him that she was pregnant'. 'Sarah's mother was shocked to here that her daughter was pregnant'. The first sentence is 'active' because the subject, Sarah, is actively shocking her father. The second sentence is passive because the subject, Sarah's mother, is passively receiving the shock. In your sentence, the subject 'she' would have passively received a shock if anyone had called her shallow, hence the use of the auxiliary verb 'been'.

Submitted by sasham on Sat, 10/08/2019 - 17:04

Hi, I can't tell if this sentence is a second conditional or a mixed one. Could you please shed some light on it? "If she were to meet Tolstoy, she was quite sure that he would embrace her." - extracted from "Trading Up" by Candace Bushnell
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Mon, 12/08/2019 - 22:43

In reply to by sasham


Hello sasham

I'd need to know the full context to be sure, but it sounds to me as if this is another way of saying 'She was quite sure that if she were to meet (which is another way of saying 'met') Tolstoy, he would embrace her', which is a second conditional embedded in a 'that' clause. Does that make sense given the full context?

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by innocentashish420 on Sun, 14/07/2019 - 10:54

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

Submitted by Roman... on Tue, 09/07/2019 - 11:02

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

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.