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

Average: 4.1 (70 votes)
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Hello pereza,

The sentence is fine. In the first clause, the continuous aspect is presumably used because the speaker is talking about an activity in progress rather than a permanent state. You could add a time reference to make it clearer: If my mother weren't working today/this morning/all day...

In the second clause, the continuous form is used because the speaker is presumably in the middle of the journey, as you say. The simple form (she would drive) would be more likely to describe a choice in the future rather than an alternative present.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by parisaach on Wed, 08/06/2022 - 05:15

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hello and thank you for your good lessons.
I am really confused with 2nd ,3rd and mixed conditional sentences. i think they can replaced in man cases.
can you please help me to realize those sentences

Hello parisaach,

We're happy to provide help but this is a very general question. Can you be more specific and tell us which aspects of the form confuse you. It might help if you can provide an example sentence to illustrate your question.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by nouhaila on Sun, 29/05/2022 - 01:34

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Hello Learnenglish team ,
Could you correct these sentences for me ?
~change the following statements into conditional sentences. ~
-last month brian was in the hospital for an operation. Liz didn't know this, so she didn't go to see him.
*If Liz had known that Brian was in the hospital last month for an operation, she would have gone to see him.
- they are tired now because they were awake all night.
*If they hadn’t been awake all night, they wouldn’t be tired now.
- Ahmed wasn’t informed about his English test before. So he wasn’t prepared for it.
*If ahmed had been informed about his English test he would have been prepared for it.
- Meriem wants to call zineb but she doesn't have her phone number.
*If Meriem had Zineb’s phone number she would call her.
- my house is guarded by two Alsatian dogs that's the only reason it isn't broken into every night.
*If my house was not guarded by 2 Alsatian dogs, it would have broken into every night.

Hello nouhaila,

Those look fine to me except for the last one. I'd say 'it would be broken into every night' since the original sentence seems to be speaking about the present and future, not the past.

I hope this wasn't your homework or a test!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Saifalchalabi on Wed, 23/03/2022 - 04:24

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Is ok if I say, I would not have thought, I would go this far. can we use I would have without if?

Hello Saifalchalabi,

Yes, you certainly can use would in that way. Some people like to think of there being an implied if-clause (e.g. II would go this far [if it were my decision]) but I don't think it's necessary or helpful in all contexts.

Would is also common in some other hypothetical or non-factual contexts (e.g. I wish you wouldn't do that!) and in some polite formulations (e.g. Would you like a drink?).

 

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by HieuNT on Thu, 24/02/2022 - 11:14

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Hello The LearnEnglish Team,

I saw an example of the mixed conditional clauses in an article:

"His 426th and last ever goal came in his first El Classico, classic Kun always stepping up in the biggest games, if we knew it'd be his last we'd have celebrated it more".

The article was talking about Sergio Aguero's retirement from football because of his heart condition, to give you some context.

The question is, why did they use a mixed sentences (if - type 2, main - type 3) here?

> If we knew it'd be (would be) his last (match), we'd have celebrated it more.

while I think it should be "If we had known it'd be his last,....". I suppose they'd known about the fact by the time they made the statement, and of course by now.

Some more examples I've found from the news:
> I would not have let him go if I knew it would be so dangerous.
> If I knew it would be two hours in line, I would have stayed home.

Are these example ungrammatical and uncommon in English and they are only used in conversation (informal contexts)?

Hi HieuNT,

Yes, these examples are ungrammatical in standard English. They are, however, fairly common to see and hear, especially in contexts where precise speaking and writing is not required (e.g. informal conversations). Despite the mixed structures, the speaker's meaning is still pretty clear to understand.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team