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Loch Ness Scene 1 - Language Focus

Rob talks about using past and present verb forms with 'if', in what we call 'conditional sentences'.

 Watch the video and then do the tasks.


Language level

Intermediate: B1


Oh!!! I'm really complicated about this. I learned about " will and would " is that " will " is used when I talk for the future and " would " is used for the past. But now I think these pattern I knew are not completely true. Could u explain me? I'll thank to you. Great site!!

We sometimes use “If I were you...” instead of ‘’If I was you...’’.

So could you explain me why do we do this, please?
in task three I choose the "were" but I don't know why I choose it, and in task three I doubt I selected false for the question

Hi Muwaffuq,

It's an interesting question, but the reason is a bit complicated! I'll try to explain.

If I were you is a type of structure called a subjunctive. It was more commonly used in English in the past. But in modern English the subjunctive is less often used. Nowadays, speakers often use the past simple instead. For example, they would often say:

  • I wish he was here (past simple)

instead of:

  • I wish he were here (subjunctive).

Following the same pattern, we could say If I was you instead of If I were you. But, If I were you is such a common phrase that it's still the more common way to say this. It's probably the most common subjunctive phrase in English.

Does that make sense?

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir,

Kindly see the following sentences.I have seen the sentences in a book. I am unsure whether the sentences are correct or not. Can "would" be used as in first and second sentences instead of "didn't".

1) He would not lend me the car, so I had to take the train.

2) We had a terrible night, so Isabella would not go to sleep.

3) I thought I would be late, so I would have to take the taxi. ( I am unsure about the meaning of this sentence. Did I take the taxi or not?)

Thank you.

Hello Aniyanmon

Sentences 1 and 2 are correct; here 'would' is used to express willingness. The second part of 3 is awkward and not something I would say -- I'm afraid I can't explain what the book meant to teach with this one. Perhaps 'I thought I would be late and that I would have to take the taxi' -- in this case, whether you took the taxi isn't clear from just this sentence; you need more context.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,

I would like to know whether the following expression is correct. I am unsure about the usage "would + have to". If such expression exist, kindly tell me the meaning of that expression. Does it belong to second conditional? Kindly enlighten me.

1) I would have to take a taxi.

2) I would have to give money.

Thank you.

Hello Aniyanmon

Both of these are correct. They are both speaking about a hypothetical situation, so yes, they are similar to a second conditional construction. See our Conditionals 1 page for more on this.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

First conditional:
- If I study, I will be a doctor.
- I will be a doctor if I study.

Second conditional:
- If I was on a mountain, I would trek.
- I would trek if I was on a mountain.

Third conditional:

If I had been a musician, I would have played guitar.
I would have played guitar If I had been a musician.