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.

 

Exercise

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I`d like to chat with someone to improve my english too so if you want to you can add me on FB to chat sometimes! here is my fb account --------------

Hello StrangeGr,

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Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi. I liked this is site, but my english is very bad. I learn about clause condicional. I don't think dificult.

Hi tNx very useful but it`s really confuse me sometimes because they`re similar almost...
and one question only in mixed ones the tense of time between two sentences is different ?

Hi StrangeGr,

Mixed conditionals have the characteristic that the two clauses have different time references. What we term 'first', 'second' and 'third' conditionals are simply conditionals in which the time reference is the same in each clause.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Can modals be used in the if clause for e.g.
If you can do that task, please proceed to do
If he could speak better English, he could get a better job

Hello cprasad111,

Yes, modals can certainly be used in the if-clause.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi ,
I have very simple question about the main verb. Where is the main verb in this sentence?
He likes eating apple .they ask grad 1 to circle the verb in the sentence which define as word describe action .
So eating will be the main verb ..what about like here?

Hi savykaspr,

In this sentence there is only one verb and that is 'likes'. The word 'eating' is in fact a gerund, which functions as a noun.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I would like to ask a question about a sentence. It is the second sentence of Mixed conditionals.
It says "If I’d won the competition I’d be going to Florida next week. "
You use "be going to" in the near future sentence in normal sentences, isn't it? I think this sentence would be " If I’d won the competition I were going to Florida next week. "
I wonder why we need to add "would". May I ask you to explain about it?

I am new to this site. I am a Japanese and have difficulty learning English. I am neither good at writing nor speaking English. I have found the British Council site very recently and found it really fun to study English.

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