# Conditionals 2

Do you know how to use third conditionals and mixed conditionals? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how third and mixed conditionals are used.

We would have walked to the top of the mountain if the weather hadn't been so bad.
If we'd moved to Scotland when I was a child, I would have a Scottish accent now.
If she was really my friend, she wouldn't have lied to me.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Conditionals 2: Grammar test 1

## Grammar explanation

Do you know how to use third and mixed conditionals?

### Third conditionals and mixed conditionals

Conditionals describe the result of a certain condition. The if clause tells you the condition (If I hadn't been ill) and the main clause tells you the result (I would have gone to the party). The order of the clauses does not change the meaning.

If I hadn't been ill, I would have gone to the party.
I would have gone to the party if I hadn't been ill.

Conditional sentences are often divided into different types.

### Third conditional

The third conditional is used to imagine a different past. We imagine a change in a past situation and the different result of that change.

If I had understood the instructions properly, I would have passed the exam.
We wouldn't have got lost if my phone hadn't run out of battery.

In third conditional sentences, the structure is usually: If + past perfect >> would have + past participle.

### Mixed conditionals

We can use mixed conditionals when we imagine a past change with a result in the present or a present change with a result in the past.

#### 1. Past/Present

Here's a sentence imagining how a change in a past situation would have a result in the present.

If I hadn't got the job in Tokyo, I wouldn't be with my current partner.

So the structure is: If + past perfect >> would + infinitive.

#### 2. Present/Past

Here's a sentence imagining how a different situation in the present would mean that the past was different as well.

It's really important. If it wasn't, I wouldn't have called you on your holiday.

And the structure is: If + past simple >> would have + past participle.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Conditionals 2: Grammar test 2

### Language level

Hello GoldenTeacher1,

As you say, in general, we use a comma when a conditional begins with the dependent clause. I'm afraid I can't definitely say that there are no other circumstances when a comma needs to be used -- there are just too many possible situations. But if you have a specific situation in mind, please feel free to explain it to us and ask us about it.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Natasa Tanasa on Fri, 27/08/2021 - 11:06

Hello everyone, Could you help me with understanding when to use in the Second Conditional: "If I were..." and "If I was..."? Thank you a lot!

Hi Natasa Tanasa,

The short answer is that both If I were and If I was are acceptable, and the meaning is the same. But, there is a preference for were, especially in writing.

There's a short explanation on this page (see the Second conditional section) and on this Grammar reference page, with some examples and exercises. I hope they help!

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Jonathan

I’m sorry for commenting in another person’s reply but there is no comment option in here for me to post my comment.

1)If Paul hadn’t been an extreme athlete, Jordan might not have climbed Everest.

2)if Paul weren’t an extreme athlete, Jordan might not have climbed Everest.

What’s the difference between if clauses of 1) and 2) ?? Does 1) mean that Paul is still an extreme athlete and in 2) he is not??
Best regards
Andi

Hi Tony,

No worries. The box to write a new comment is now at the bottom of the page, so have a look there.

Clause 1 (hadn't been - past perfect) shows an unreal past. The sentence means Paul was an extreme athlete at the time when Jordan climbed Everest. (The meaning is limited to that past time. It does not say anything about whether Paul is still an extreme athlete today.)

In clause 2, (weren't - past simple) shows an unreal present. It means that Paul is an extreme athlete. This is understood as a fact that is true and unchanging regardless of time (i.e., it is true in the present, and extends to the past and future as well). In this sentence, it's certain that Paul is still an extreme athlete now.

I hope that helps :)

Jonathan
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Mon, 29/03/2021 - 06:29

Hello. I'm really confused about how to use "unless" in 2nd and 3rd conditionals. Is the following sentence correct? Why? Please explain in simple language. - Unless he had helped me, I wouldn't have been able to finish the work. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

We don't use unless with statements that we know to be true. For example:

She wouldn't have gone to the party unless Paul asked her.

[this is speculation; the speaker does not know for certain if Paul asked her]

I wouldn't have gone to the party if Paul hadn't asked me. [not unless]

[this is certain: the speaker knows Paul asked them and so unless cannot be used]

In your example, the speaker knows that help was given and so unless cannot be used. The sentence needs to use 'if...not': If he hadn't helped me...

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Thu, 25/03/2021 - 03:31

Hello. Is it OK to use "in case" in second conditionals? For example, Is the following sentence correct? - I got some books with me when I went travelling in case I got board. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

It's fine to use in case with past forms. Your sentence is not a so-called second conditional, however, but rather a sentence about a real past event. In your example in case has the meaning 'because it was possible that':

I took some books in case I got bored.

[took = a real past event; got bored = a possible past situation]

You can use in case with future hypothetical meaning:

If I went, I would take some books in case I got bored.

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by gsgxxiii on Mon, 22/03/2021 - 12:45