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.

 

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Hello ANUPREET KAUR,

The first one is correct. The verb 'had' in the first clause has a present or future meaning (even though the form is past), and so the second clause should not have a past meaning. Therefore the second sentence is incorrect.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hii.
please tell me where should i use "Would " and "Would have"? and what are correct sentences given below and their correct formation ?
a) if there was camera in street, theives would be caught.
b)if i had not reminded you, you would forget
c)if i had not stopped him , pictures would have been deleted.

Hello kausar chawla,

The context matters in deciding this. For example, in your first sentence you can say:

If there was a camera in the street, thieves would be caught.

or

If there was a camera in the street, the thieves would have been caught.

The first sentence describes a general fact. The second refers to a specific instance of stealing.

For the other sentences the most likely forms are as follows:

If i had not reminded you, you have forgetten.

If i had not stopped him, the pictures would have been deleted.

Please note that we do not normally provide a service of correcting lists of sentences, or of helping with exercises, tests or homework from elsewhere. If we tried then we'd have no time for anything else!

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi LearnEnglish team,
Kindly tell me about the sentence that i have presented below whether it is first conditional that emphasizes present or not

- I will be in trouble if she knows me

Hi leonardo999,

The exact time reference for the sentence depends on the context in which it is used. By itself, it can have both a present and a future time reference; which is relevant in a given context depends upon that context. Most likely, this sentence refers to a present state (the woman knowing him or not) and the results in the future (the speaker being in trouble), but it depends on the context.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi LearnEnglish team,

Is it possible to convert first conditional (future) into first conditional (present) as given below::

- if i have his number, i will give it to you. (future)

- if i have his number, i will give it to you. (present)

if it is possible to convert that particular sentence from future into present that what does it suggest ? i mean what's the context ?

Hello leonardo999,

There is no conversion needed. The sentence can have both present and future meaning; it depends on the context. If the 'knowing' is about the time of speaking ('if she knows me now') then it has present meaning; if the 'knowing' is about the future ('if she knows me when she sees me') then it has a future meaning.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

"Conditional one" is too hard for classification,Sir?
Can you give me a simple explanation!
Your's Sincerely,
Avii_30801

Kindly indicate whether the following sentence is grammatically correct:

If I would have been winning on the preliminaries , I would have been registered my candidature on the elections.

Thanks

Hello MayelaM,

No, that sentence is not correct. We would not use 'would' in the if-clause, and the 'been' is not correct in the second clause. The correct sentence would be as follows:

If I had been winning in the preliminaries, I would have registered my candidature for the elections.

Please note that we cannot always check examples like this for our users. Our role here is to help users with the material on the site, or to explain points from the pages, not to check sentences. With so many users of LearnEnglish it's just not possible for us to be teachers for everyone!

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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