Second conditional – grammar chart

 
Second conditional - grammar chart

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We use the second conditional to talk about hypothetical or imaginary situations in the present or the future. We can use past simple or past continuous in the if clause and we can use would, could or might + simple infinitive (do) or continuous infinitive (be doing) in the main clause.

  • If there was a fire, it would be impossible to escape.
  • If you weren’t making so much noise, I could concentrate.
  • I wouldn’t have a car if I lived in the city. 
  • If it weren’t for him, I might not be talking to you right now. 

When we use the verb be in the if clause, we can use either was (more formal) or were (spoken English) after I, he, she or it. But when we are giving advice, we always use if I were you (NOT was).

  • If he was/were rich, he wouldn’t be living in this house. 
  • If I were you, I’d call him as soon as possible. (NOT was)

As with all conditional types, we use a comma after the if clause when it goes at the beginning of the sentence, but we don’t use a comma when the if clause goes at the end.

  • If you weren’t making so much noise, I could concentrate
  • I could concentrate if you weren’t making so much noise. 

 

Third conditional – grammar chart

 
Third conditional

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We use the third conditional to talk about hypothetical or imaginary situations in the past. We can use the past perfect simple or past perfect continuous in the if clause and we can use would, could or might + the perfect infinitive in the main clause.

  • If you had come to class more often, you would have passed the test.
  • I wouldn’t have been late if I hadn’t overslept.
  • He could have died if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet.
  • If the jacket had been a bit cheaper, I might have bought it.