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  • Second conditional – unreal situations

    Exercise 3

    Fill in the gaps with the verb in brackets with would/wouldn’t or in past simple to complete the following second conditional sentences.

    1 Where (you/travel) to if you (can) go anywhere?

    2 What (you/do) if you (be) in my situation?

    3 If she (know), she (tell) you.

    4 I (have) a better job if I (speak) English better.

    5 I (never/forgive) you if I (not be) your friend.

    6 I (be) happier if I (have) more time.

    7 If you (find) a wallet with a lot of money in it, what (you/do)?

    8 If she  (not criticise) people so often, she (have) more friends.

    9 If you (get) lost, I (go) to the end of the world to find you.

    10 He  (not travel) alone if he  (not have) his parents' permission.


  • 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 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 normally 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. 

    Unless = if (not)

    We can also use unless in conditional sentences to mean if … (not)

    • I wouldn’t live in a big city unless I had a lot of money.
    • = I wouldn’t live in a big city if I didn’t have a lot money.


    Would, could, might

    In the main clause, we can use could or might instead of would.

    • If there was a fire, it would be difficult to escape.
    • If you were a bit taller, you could be a basketball player.
    • We might save enough money if we both worked overtime.


    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.
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