Conditionals: third and mixed

Conditionals: third and mixed

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

Read the explanation to learn more.

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

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Submitted by MyoZawHein on Sat, 22/10/2022 - 14:30


Thanks for free lessons. It deeply helps me with my studying. I appreciates it.

Submitted by disconzi on Mon, 10/10/2022 - 18:10


Hi Team,

Is it correct to ask:
"Do you know if she is coming or not?"

Thanks in advance,


Submitted by Beatrix_84 on Wed, 21/09/2022 - 12:26


Hi The LearnEnglish Team!

Please comment what should we use: "were" or "was" in the if clause in Conditional 2?
As I learned in the past it's only "were" to be used there. But more often I see "was" in this construction.

Hi Beatrix_84,

Both are correct and acceptable :) Traditionally, "were" was considered the correct form, but in modern usage people say both "were" and "was". We have a few examples of this on our other Conditionals page (linked).

I hope that helps.


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Abdullah.23 on Sat, 17/09/2022 - 12:23


In this sentence , " If the train had been on time , I wouldn't have missed the meeting " .Why can't we use "I wouln't miss the meeting " as a change in the past could change the present ?

Hello Abdullah.23,

It's possible to use that combination of verb tenses, but in this particular situation it doesn't really make sense in English.

For example, you could say 'If the train had been on time, I would be at the meeting now' and this would be correct. Like the incorrect answer you were asking about, the verbs are 'had been' and 'would be' (though of course it's not negative).

The problem with 'If the train had been on time, I wouldn't miss the meeting' is that when the speaker knows arriving to the meeting on time is impossible, in a sense the meeting has already been missed. In other words, even if the meeting hasn't started yet, if we know there is no way we can arrive, we consider that we've already missed it. Pyschologically-speaking, missing the meeting isn't really present or future -- it's already passed.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Robertas on Thu, 15/09/2022 - 04:34


Hi The LearnEnglish Team,

This sentence is from Mixed Conditionals, Present/Past section:
"It's really important. If it wasn't, I wouldn't have called you on your holiday."

I understand the speaker is speaking in present because this part indicates this: "It's really important. ...". So why to use 3rd Conditional (past perfect structure)? I think it would sound better "... , I wouldn't call you..". I understand I can't use second conditional because situation is possible or likely or even is happening currently. Is this place again where I shouldn't pay attention to tenses used here and more to conditional description? Even for latter case, it is confusing because the situation is in present.
Tell me I am wrong here, and I really will be lost to understand situation :-D