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 teacher,
Thanks for your help, am more clear now.

hello sir,
i have doubt when to use has been, have been and had been. am very much confused

Hi suruthika,

I would suggest that you read our present perfect and past perfect pages. This is because has been and have been are present perfect forms, and had been is a past perfect form.

If it's not any clearer after working through those pages, please ask us again. The more specific your question is, the better we can help you.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,teachers
I am new on this site,and I have a question of the preposition, as i don't know which one is right?
" I am coming for the party or I am coming to the party?"
thanks in advance.

Hi chenlyfen60,

Both are possible, but the meaning is slightly different.

I am coming for the party' tells us that the party is the reason for the person's journey. You might also say 'I am coming for the television' (to collect it), 'I am coming for the meeting' (to attend it) or 'I am coming for a holiday'.

I am coming to the party tells us that the person has been invited and will attend.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot, it's very clear to me.

Dear Teacher ( The LearnEnglish Team),

Please kindly help to explain me regarding to below sentence:
She did ask her dad if she could have a big party, but the old spoilsport refused. Why do we use did before the word ask? What kind of this sentence? Many thanks for your kind explanation.

Best regards,

CChhom

Hello CChhom,

We can use the auxiliary verb 'did' (or 'do' for present simple sentences) in affirmative sentences as a way of emphasising the action - typically when something is not believed or might be questioned for some reason.  For example:

I went to Paris last weekend.

You're joking!

No, really, I did go to Paris, honestly!

Obviously, we can't see the context of the sentence you quote, but I would imagine there is some kind of similar context to that above.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I need to know are mixed conditionals gramatically right? Can these sentences that mentioned above (mixed ones) be used officially ?
Thanks in advance

Hi Ganjina,

Some conditionals, e.g. first and third, cannot normally be mixed (e.g. If he goes shopping, he would have spent all his money), but the sentences above are correct.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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