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 Paul,

While we try to help our users as much as we can with their learning, I'm afraid we are not able to offer a correction or consultation service, or help on demand for people writing in English! I'm afraid for this you'll need to find a local teacher to work with you.

Best wishes and good luck,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, I've got a doubt with the structure of a sentence in second conditional and I wonder if you can help me. Is this sentence correct ?: "If I was asked what my favourite film is I would say Dracula". The verb "is" is correct in present simple? Thank you very much for your help.

Hello RUT1712,

That is quite correct, yes. It is also correct to say 'was' instead of 'is' but both are widely used in everyday English.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I would like to ask about negative form of 'Had". We can normally use in the past perfect tense for EX:I hadn't seen him, he hadn't left...But had with noun or adjective ,how to form negative? You may say "didn't have"that is ok. But Can we also use hadn't? Ex:I hadn't enough time, I hadn't a car in 2013.I asked a british teacher about "hadn't" she said that we don't use it.I have noticed on the webpage of British council that says 'she hadn't any money".Could you provide some example of 'hadn't with noun.?Is there any difference between hadn't and didn't have?May I have the answer from a British Teacher please?

Hello Rasheed,

I think it would be helpful for you think about these different forms as 'have' used as an auxiliary verb (e.g. in 'have gone' or 'had gone') vs 'have' used as a main verb (e.g. 'We had a house in the country'), where usually it refers to possession.

Your teacher is right: when 'have' (or 'had') is used as a main verb, the negative form in the past simple tense is formed with the auxiliary verb 'did not' (not 'hadn't'), e.g. 'When I was young, I didn't have a car'. It is possible to find or hear 'hadn't' instead of 'didn't have', and this used to be common, but almost no one speaks or writes like this any more. It would strange for you to use it, though people would understand you.

I hope that clears it up for you!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir, I am still confused.See this answer from Roy Johnson( Teacher an writer from England-ALLexperts site) I asked the same question.

ANSWER:" The use of hadn't is perfectly normal in English.

We use it in speech all the time. Very few people would SAY 'had not'.

But in formal writing, these contractions are sometimes frowned upon.

All the examples you cite here are perfectly correct usage.

I hope that helps

ANSWER: The use of hadn't is perfectly normal in English.

We use it in speech all the time. Very few people would SAY 'had not'.

But in formal writing, these contractions are sometimes frowned upon.

All the examples you cite here are perfectly correct usage.

I hope that helps"what about this answer? and you can see on british council site"She hadn't any money" here is had used as a main verb. This is not past perfect tense like"had gone"
Here is site adress See more at: http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/clause-phrase-...

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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
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,
Kirk
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

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