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.





Hello Rasheednp,

I maintain that in many varieties of English, the use of 'hadn't' as a main verb is  unusual, but, as the page on LearnEnglish that you cite explains, and as you've found on another site, it is used in some varieties of English.

It might help to remember that there are many varieties of English and that, unlike in other languages, there is no academy of English or any other organisation that determines what is and is not correct English. What is normal in one variety may not exist in another - for example, in American English it would be extremely difficult to hear 'hadn't' in this sense - and within British English there are diverse varieties with different patterns of usage.

I hope that this helps you understand the issue. Please also note that there's no need to post your questions more than once, as it sometimes takes us some time to answer.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

In the following sentence both "would" and"could" can be used. Is it right?
You ____ run faster if you weren't so lazy.
Thank You

Hi shadyar,

Yes, that's correct.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello kirk,
I look for a phrase or a word to define the following job, but I don't know the exact term . Please help me.
This is a service offered by post office . When you want to post a letter you call up the post office then the postman(usually drives his motorcycle) comes at your door and offers the service. In this way you don't need to go to the post office . Can we call this service for example "call post" or "postal motorcycle courier" or something else?
Best Wishes

Hello shadyar,

This is not a service that is offered in Britain as far as I know and so there is no 'official' name for it. That means you can invent whatever name seems to suit best. Perhaps something like 'door-to-door postal service'?

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,
I have read the questions of Roshank1988, by his last one : "He is completed his experiment successfully" that is wrong, so can I write this sentence with "He is complete his experiment successfully?" as this word " complete " can be an adjective, am I right?
Thank you in advance.

Hello chenlyfen60,

No, 'he is complete his experiment' doesn't make sense. If 'complete' means finished, it's not 'he' who is complete - it is the experiment that is complete. You could say 'He has completed his experiment', but the structure in this case is different: instead of 'be + adjective' it is the present perfect form of the verb 'complete'.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Roshank 1988,
I think both of the sentences are right. But there is a little difference in the meaning. With the first one it means the activity was completed and you observed it . Withe the second one it means the change has not been completed and you are waiting to observe the changes. Concerning the second question the first one is right , but the second one is not correct , because you use the passive form and it means "he" is not the subject.
Best Wishes.

sir i have some doubts please help me.

lets assume that i am conducting an experiment on temperature with the help of an assistant.i give him some instructions and leave for some other the timei getback there he has just completed his work .now if i ask him a question which onewould be appropriate.
1.did you observe any change in temperature?
2.have you observed any change in temp?
if the second one is wrong in what situation we can frame a question using have.

and please correct these sentences
1he has completed his experiment successfully
2he is completed his exp successfully
if the second one is wrong in what situation we can use this kind of formation(is+past participle)

Hello roshank1986,

shadyar's response (above - thank you, shadyar!) is correct. Many, but not all, past participles can be used as adjectives. When they can be used as adjectives, the form 'is + adjective' is correct, but otherwise is not. If you want to see whether a past participle can be used as an adjective, you should look it up in the dictionary. If you see that there is an entry where it is labeled as an adjective, then you can use it that way.

But please note, the sentence 'He is completed the experiment' doesn't make sense. 'He' is not the thing that is 'complete' - I suppose you mean 'The experiment is complete.'

By the way, please try to find an appropriate page for your questions in the future. For example, this page would have made more sense on a page having to do with the past simple or present perfect.


Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team