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  • Second conditional

    Exercise 3

    Complete the following second conditional setences with the verbs in brackets in the correct form. Use would/’d or would not/wouldn’t/’d not + verb in the main clauses.

    1 If John was here, he (know) what to do.

    2 I wouldn't work here if I (not enjoy) my job.

    3 It's too bad that you don't speak French. If you (speak) French, you (get) the job at the hotel.

    4 If he (know) the truth, he (kill) you.

    5 Where would you travel if you (be) rich?

    6 I'm sorry, I can't go out. I'd go out if I (not have) this terrible headache.

    7 I (not have) a cat if I (not like) animals.

    8 If I (learn) Japanese, I (try) to find a job in Japan.

    9 If he (be) a nice person, he (not treat) people so badly.

    10 I (not go) to that hotel if I (be) you.


  • Second conditional – Grammar chart

    Second conditional - grammar chart

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    If clause and main clause

    We use if + past to talk about an imaginary present or future situation (although the verb is in the past, the meaning is present or future). And we use wouldinfinitive to talk about the result or consequence of that imaginary situation.

    • If we had a mansion in the country, we’d go there every weekend. 
    • Would you travel around the world if you won the lottery?


    When the if clause comes first, we usually put a comma after it. We don’t use a comma when the main clause comes first and the if clause comes second.

    • If I won the lottery, I’d buy a mansion.
    • I’d buy a mansion if I won the lottery. 


    Would/wouldn’t is the same for all persons.

    • I/you/he/she/it/we/they would/wouldn’t do that if it was possible. 

    Contracted forms are wouldn’t= would not and ‘d= would

    • I‘d never tell anyone if you told me your secret. 
    • I wouldn’t tell anyone if you told me your secret. 


    We can often use could + infinitive instead of wouldinfinitive in the main clause.

    • If you spoke English, you could get a better job.

    Was or were?

    In the second conditional, we can use if I/he/she/it were (more formal) instead of if I/he/she/it was (spoken English).

    • If I were/was fit, I would run a marathon.
    • We wouldn’t have any problems if he were/was more reasonable.

    But we use were (NOT was) when we give advice with the expression if I were you.

    • If I were you, I would stay home and rest.
    • I wouldn’t pay any attention to what he says if I were you.

    First conditional vs second conditional

    First vs second conditionals - grammar chart

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    We use the first conditional to talk about possible future situations and the second conditional to talk about hypothetical or imaginary future situations.

    • If I don’t have a meeting tomorrow morning, I’ll have lunch with you. (It’s possible. Maybe I don’t have a meeting.)
    • If I didn’t have a meeting tomorrow morning, I’d have lunch with you. (It’s hypothetical. I have a meeting tomorrow, so I won’t be able to have lunch with you.)
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