Today, we’re going to take a look at Conditionals. If you missed the first part of these structures you can check it here.
In the previous part we saw Zero, First and Second conditionals. Today, we are going to take a look at the Third conditional and the mixed ones. Are you ready? Scroll down for it!
We use this type of conditional sentence to talk about regrets or to speculate about a different past:
If I hadn’t eaten so much cake, I wouldn’t have felt sick
IF + PAST PERFECT (simple or continuous) +MODAL VERB + HAVE + PAST PARTICIPLE
- The third conditional is the only one that talks about the past.
- I can choose whichever modal verb fits the idea that I want to convey in my sentence (would, could, might and other modals used for speculation are the most common due to the nature of this structure)
They are formed by mixing the if clause of the second conditional and the main clause of the third (or vice versa). How do I decide which one to use? Since the second conditional talks about an imaginary present and the third about the past, my choice is always going to depend on whether I am talking about a condition or result in the past or in the present.
Look at the following examples:
If John wasn’t so lazy, he would have finished his degree months ago.
If Peter had picked us up from the airport, we wouldn’t be waiting for a taxi now.
While in the first sentence (If John wasn’t so lazy, he would have finished his degree months ago) I am establishing an unreal present as the condition (If John wasn’t so lazy) and speculating about a different past result (he would have finished his degree months ago). However, in the second sentence it’s the other way around, I am speculating about a different condition in the past (If Peter had picked us up from the airport) that would have led to an unreal result (we wouldn’t be waiting for a taxi now) in the present (since at this moment we are waiting for a taxi.)
Shall we get some practice? This time you are going to get sentences of any conditional. This is not only the ones that we have just seen but also the zero, first and second conditionals explained in the first part of the post (Scroll up for the link to it).
The house alarm didn’t go off because I forgot to set it this morning
If I …..
You should see a doctor about that cough
You should have told me about that problem before! It would have been solved by now!
If you………………………………………………….no problem now
I didn’t know how horrible the cake tasted. I wish I hadn’t tried it
If you………………………… tried it.
Have a lovely end of January! 🙂