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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


Hello Ahmed Imam,
Both 'manage' and 'will manage' are grammatically correct, but there is a difference in use.

If you say 'manage' then you are making a general comment - saying something that is always true. The sentence effectively means this is what all well-organised people do.

We use 'will manage' in two ways. The most common is to talk about a particular situation in the future: if you are a well-organised person then you will manage your time [this weekend/at college/so you can spend time with us etc]

Another use is 'will' as a sign of expectation. In this case, the speaker would be saying if you are a well-organised person then you will probably manage your time well.


I hope that helps to clarify it for you.


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, everyone. In the following sentence, we cannot use "when" instead of "if", right? - If you answer this question right, you have a good brain.
I have been searching to get more examples to understand it but in vain.
Could you please give some more examples of when I can use "if" not "when"?
Thank you

Hello Ahmed Imam,
We use 'if' when something is not certain and 'when' when there is no doubt. For exampele:
> If you see Susan, say hello to her from me.
> When you see Susan, say hello to her from me.
In the first sentence, the speaker does not know if the person will see Susan or not.
In the second sentence, the speaker knows for sure that the person will see Susan.
In your example, 'when' does not make sense as the question acts as a test. If we were 100% sure that the person will answer the question correctly, then we could already say they have a good brain and not wait for their answer.
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi sir.
Please, tell me the difference between these two sentences.
Even if England were to win ...
Even if England won....

Those are second conditional examples. When we have to use simple-past verb n were to infinitive

Thank you,

Hi Risa warysha,
Both forms describe can describe unlikely events, with [if... were to] being a little more formal. However, [if + were to] cannot be used to describe impossible or imaginary situations:
> If he offered you money, would you accept = correct (unlikely future)
> If he were to offer you money, would you accept = correct (unlikely future)
> If I had three heads, I would spent a lot on hats = correct (imaginary situation)
> If I were to have three heads, I would spent a lot on hats = not correct (imaginary situation)
The LearnEnglish Team

hi teacher,
Can you please help me, I can't decide which is correct.
(a) She would not talk to you if she was/ were mad at you.
(b) You know if David wasn’t/weren't so clumsy, he would not have so many accidents.
Many thanks for your kind response.

Hi JessicaAw,
Both 'was' and 'were' are possible in each sentence. 'Were' used to be expected in such sentences, but languages change over time and in modern English both forms are commonly used.
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir,
could you please tell me if we can use such conjunctions as "unless, providing" not only in 1st conditionals but also in 2nd and 3rd.
And tell me please if we can also use the mentioned conjunctions and conjunctions supposing, imagine in mixed conditionals-

Thank you!

Hello Danana,
We do not use 'unless' or 'providing' with impossible or unreal situations (such as those in what are sometimes called '2nd' and '3rd' conditionals).
You can use 'imagine' and 'supposing' to refer to these situations, however:
'Imagine you had gone to the party. How would you feel?'
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello gerol2000
The first sentence here is similar to sentence you were asking about in another comment. It mixes a present or future condition ('if I could') with an imaginary past consequence ('I would have done it'), and this combination doesn't make sense. Perhaps in some very specific context it would be possible, but I can't think of one off the top of my head.
The second sentence is perfect!
All the best
The LearnEnglish Team