Do you know how to use third and mixed conditionals?

Third conditionals and mixed conditionals

Conditionals are sentences with two clauses – an if clause and a main clause – that are closely related. Conditional sentences are often divided into different types.

Third conditional

Third conditional sentences describe the past. They describe something that didn't happen.

  • If I'd studied harder at school, I would have gone to university.

He didn't study very hard and he didn't go to university.

  • We wouldn't have got lost if you hadn't given me the wrong directions.

She wasn't given the correct directions and she didn't find her way.

  • She might have finished the exam if she'd had more time.

She didn't finish the exam and she didn't have more time.

In third conditional sentences, the structure is usually if + past perfect and would + perfect infinitive (e.g. have done). It's not important which clause comes first.

Notice that other modal verbs can be used instead of would (e.g. could, might, may)

Mixed conditionals

In mixed conditional sentences the time in the if clause is not the same as the time in the main clause. There can be various combinations.

  • If he'd gone to university, he might have a better job.

He didn't go to university (past)
He doesn't have a very good job. (present)
This sentence shows the present consequences of a past action.

  • If I'd won the competition, I'd be going to Florida next week.

She didn't win the competition (past)
She isn't going to Florida (future)
This sentence shows the future consequences of a past action.

 

Exercise

Language level

Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

Hello. Today, We had a discussion group about conditionals and we had different opinions about the following sentence:
- If you are a well-organised person, you manage, will manage your time.
Some teachers say that "manage" is the only correct answer while others and I didn't agree with them as we thought that "will manage" is equally correct especially there was no more context.
Please, which one is correct?
Thank you.

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.
~
Peter
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)
~
Peter
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.
~
Peter
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?'
~
Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. would you please consider this:
I would have done it if I could.
I would have done it if I could have done it.
Does the first sentence imply that this is a mixed conditional? Do I get it right that 'if I could' means 'could' in general, now or ever?

Pages