2nd and 3rd Conditional Sentences

1. 2nd Conditional Sentences

a. Definition:

2nd conditional (also called conditional type 2) is a structure used for talking about unreal situations in the present or in the future. This page will explain how the second conditional is formed, and when to use it. (Contrary-fact)

b. The structure of a second conditional sentence
• Like a first conditional, a second conditional sentence consists of two clauses, an “if” clause and a main clause:

main clause
IF clause
If I had a million dollars,
I would buy a big house.

If the “if” clause comes first, a comma is usually used. If the “if” clause comes second, there is no need for a comma:
If Clause
Main clause
I would buy a big house
if I had a million dollars

If clause
Result Clause
If + simple past (V2)
would + V1
*Note: If, there’s a “to be” on the sentence. That’s only “were”.

c. Examples & Using of Conditional Sentences
Example :
If I were you, I would drive more carefully in the rain.
I am not you — this is unreal.
If dogs had wings, they would be able to fly.
Dogs don’t have wings — that’s impossible.
If I were a doctor, I would check your health.
In the Fact – You’re not a doctor.
If I had enough money, I would go to Seoul.
In the Fact – You don’t have any money.
If I studied hard, I would pass the test successfully.
In the fact- You don’t study hard, so you don’t pass it successfully.

2. 3rd Conditional Sentences

a. Definition

3rd conditional sentences is an “impossible condition” , meaning it is contraty to the fact in the past and there is no hope for the situasion to occur because you were imagining something in the past.

b. The structure of 3rd Conditional Sentences

Like the other conditionals, a third conditional sentence consists of two clauses, an “if” clause and a main clause:

If clause
if + subject + past perfect verb*
Main clause
subject + would (OR could, OR might) have + past participle

If clause
Main clause
If I had gone to surabaya last week,
I would have met my grandparents for the last time.

Note also that third conditional forms can be contracted:
Full form
If I had studied harder, I probably would have passed the exam.
Contracted form
If I’d studied harder, I probably would’ve passed the exam.

c. Using the third conditional
The third conditional is used to talk about things which did not happen in the past. If your native language does not have a similar construction, you may find this a little strange, but it can be very useful. It is often used to express criticism or regret:
If you had driven more carefully, you would not have had an accident.
Criticism: You had an accident because you didn’t drive carefully enough.
If we had played a little better, we could have won the game.
Regret: We didn’t play well, so we lost the game.
If you had saved your money, you could have bought a computer.
Criticism: You didn’t save your money, so now you can’t afford a computer.
If it had snowed, we could have gone skiing.
Regret: It didn’t snow, so we couldn’t go skiing.


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