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Conditionals 2

Do you know how to use third and mixed conditionals?

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

Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2


It's really helpful.

Hello. Please forgive my insistence to ask about "unless". I won't stop asking about "unless" until I have no confusion. I'm still can't decide if an "unless sentence" is correct or not. For example, is the following sentence correct?
- Unless Shakespeare had moved to London, he wouldn't have become an actor.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

The sentence is not correct. We use unless to describe things that we are not sure of, not to describe things that we know are true or not true. Since we know that Shakespeare moved to London, we would use if...not and not unless.



The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much.

Hello, please look at the phrases below
1) "if to be different is to be other, then "different" and "other" are intersubstitutable salva veritate." from the book, Plato's Forms in Transition: A Reading of the Parmenides, Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (May 7, 2009).
2) if to subtract 126 hours from 137 hours and 47 minutes
As you noticed there is used the form "if to + verb" I'd like to ask you which English grammar I can find to see the explanation about using the form "if to + verb" generally although this explanation or exception are no in many books in English grammar?
Please give me your answer about using the form "if to + verb", could it be used if someone takes an exam in English like that FCE, IELTS, TOEFL, or any other?
Thank you

Hello again Vitub,

Before we look at your particular example, you need to make sure that thes structures you are looking at are the same. You need to check if the to is part of an infinitive or is a preposition, for example, and if it is an infintive whether or not it is functioning as a verb in the sentence or is being used as the subject or object of the clause in the same way that a gerund can be.

All that said, let's look at your example.

if to be different is to be other, then "different" and "other" are intersubstitutable salva veritate

In this example, to be different is used as a concept, not an action. In other words, it functions as the subject of the verb is. You could put quotes around it to make this clearer:

if 'to be different' is 'to be other', then "different" and "other" are intersubstitutable salva veritate

You could also replace it with a gerund:

if being different is being other, then "different" and "other" are intersubstitutable salva veritate

In other words, you do not have a verbal expression here, but an infinitive functioning as the subject of the sentence. Infinitives are often used this way:

To criticise others is easy.

To get married is to make a lifelong commitment.


Generally, the infinitive form in these constructions is more conceptual, equivalent to saying 'the idea of....'. The gerund is more concrete, describing actual actions.


The other example you quote (about calculating work duration) does not appear to me to be correct English. I have no idea who the author is and if they are a fluent English speaker, or even if they typed what they intended. This is why finding examples online in forums and treating them as a good source is not a sensible approach. Examples in published materials from reputable publishers, such as the Cambridge Plato translation, are far better.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Is the following sentence correct? I have always been taught that "unless" isn't followed by a negative verb. I'm confused.
- Unless Mary doesn’t study, she will pass.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

The sentence is unusual, but correct. We can use a negative form after unless when it describes something that we do not expect. In other words, in your example the speaker believes Mary is studying or will study.


Here are a few more examples:

I can tell you the story, unless you don't want to hear it.

I'll come to the party unless I don't feel well.


Note that a positive verb is needed in the first clause. We do not use a negative verb with unless and another negative verb.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I found context with the form "if to + verb", please read it, "Evidence, in formula, to be controlled at 1:1.2 more suitable for grain slag and bentonitic amount ratio, and ratio is many or few, all can exert an influence to technology capability or to the goods frictional behaviour, as goods wear resistance variation.And the amount that adds water is important parameter of the present invention, if it is many to have added water, material thinning being difficult to granulate, and if to add water few, expect dry dust and the difficult granulating of also easily producing.More suitable water consumption is the 15-25% of formula total amount.
" The link is here Please give me your answer about it, I am interested in the form "if to + verb" which conditional can it be attached to?
Thank you!

Hello Vitub,

The language in your quote has many mistakes. It looks like it was translated from another language via an online translation application, to be honest.



The LearnEnglish Team