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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Comments

Hello Kirk. Thank you very much for your answering my question. Conditional, especially second, third and mixed conditional, is difficult for me to understand, but I understand "were going to" is not correct.
I need to get used to conditional sentences. The more I practice, the more I understand. Is this sentence correct?
Thank you again, Kirk.

Thank you very much for your information, Kirk. I will try it.
Japanese language is completely different from not only English but also other languages. I think that the difference of the language is the difference of culture.
I need to learn more about the background of the language.

I wish you a Happy New Year.

Hello Catwings,

You're welcome! And yes, the sentence you ask about is correct (and also true). By the way, if you want to practise conditionals beyond what is available here at LearnEnglish, I'm sure you can find lots of useful resources by doing an internet search for 'practise English conditionals'.

Good luck!

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Catwings,

Welcome to LearnEnglish! We're glad you found us and that you find the site useful - that's what we're here for.

The sentence you asked about is a mixed conditional, more specifically, a third conditional ('had won' = past perfect) in the first part and a second conditional ('would be going' = would) in the third part. You're right that 'be going to' is used to talk about a future plan, often in the near future, but it would not be correct to use it instead of 'would be going' in this sentence.

Second and third conditional sentences (or mixed conditionals that use these two) speak about unreal or hypothetical situations, but zero or first conditional forms (which includes 'be going to') speak about real possibilities. Mixing a third conditional and first conditional form therefore doesn't make any sense - that's why it would be incorrect to say that.

I hope this clarifies the issue for you, but please let us know if you have any further questions.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

do you have speaking English lessons?

Hi Peter... the following is (the/a?) starting sentence in paragraph:
(The?) Researchers chose three major state-owned companies in Indonesia that implemented knowledge management, namely A, B and C as research objects.

Should we use "The" before "Researches"?

Hello Paul,

As is often the case with articles, the choices depends on the context. If you have not mentioned who the researchers are then no article would be appropriate ('a' for singular countable nouns when first mentioned and unspecified; no article for plural). If, however, the researchers have already been identified (for example by mentioning the institution or team responsible) then 'the' could be used.

In your first sentence the correct use would be 'the starting sentence' (there is only one starting sentence) and 'a paragraph' (you haven't identified which paragraph, and there are many).

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sorry Peter I need your more assistance to write my research with a more appropriate English. My next question:

Indication of this phenomenon is the emergence of a gap between knowledge that is shared with the knowledge needs of employees.

Is it correct to simplify "knowledge that is shared" with "knowledge shared"?

Hello Paul,

Without knowing the whole context of the sentence it's not really possible for me to give a definitive answer. However, I would suspect that you could say:

'Indicative of this phenomenon is the emergence of a gap between shared knowledge and the knowledge needs of employees.'

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Peter for your valuable answer. I have other question:
Company X is facing strategic challenges, namely economic growth and improvement of living standards, demand of primary energy sources that are more diverse and friendly environment, population growth and stable electricity prices at a reasonable level.

During the past 10 years of rapid growth, Company Y driven particularly by energy issues, is facing the challenge of transforming the nation’s energy in the form of the transition to the use of cleaner and more environmentally friendly energy for power generation, industry, transport, and for other needs.

Questions:

which one is more suitable:
"namely economic growth and improvement of living....." or "namely: economic growth and improvement of living...."
and
"demand of primary energy sources ...." or "demand for primary energy sources ..."

for 2nd paragraph:
".....the use of cleaner and more environmentally friendly energy...." Do the use of tripple adjective " more environmentally friendly ...." correct?

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