Conditional III in English Grammar

Conditional III in English Grammar

Conditional III indicates an impossible, hypothetical and unreal condition in the past and its probable result in the past. To learn about them, start reading!

Conditional III in English Grammar

Conditional III

Conditional sentences are used to indicate that the action in the main clause (the one without if) can only take place if a certain condition (in the if clause) is met. Here, we will study the third conditional sentences.

Conditional III

Third conditionals are the only conditionals that is about past. It describes imaginary or hypothetical situations in the past.
When we use third conditionals, we are talking about the result of something that did NOT happen.
We are imagining a different past.

If I had studied hard , I would have passed the exam .

Yesterday, the speaker had an exam and today he is thinking about it. Therefore he's using third conditionals. Because he didn't work hard, and he didn't pass the exam and he cannot change the past.

Conditional III: Structure

The structure of third conditionals is:
'If + past perfect + could/would/should + have + past participle'
You can add 'not' to the past perfect tense to make a negative third conditional.

If I had remembered her number , I would have called her .

In reality, I did not remember her number. Therefore, I did not call her. By using third conditional, the speaker is imagining a different past.

If he hadn't eaten that spoiled fish , he wouldn't have been sick .

In fact he ate that spoiled fish.

If Clause

If the 'if clause' comes first (at the beginning of the sentence) don't forget to put a comma (,) after it.

If you had told me you were coming , I would have made dinner .

If clause + comma + main clause.

If you begin your sentence with the main clause, you don't need to put a comma between the two clauses.

I would have made dinner if you had told me you were coming .

Main clause + if clause.

Second and Third Conditionals: Comparison

Second and third conditionals both indicate a hypothetical situation, but in third conditional we are imagining a hypothetical situation in the past. While in second conditional, we are imagining a hypothetical situation in the present or future.
Compare these two sentences:

If I had won 1M dollars , I would have bought a house .

This type of conditional is used for impossible situations, because it never happened. We cannot change the past.

If I won 1M dollars , I would buy a house .

This type of conditional is used for unlikely situations in the present or immediate future. The condition is not possible, but it is improbable.

Conditional Tenses

Conditional tenses are used to create the main clause of a conditional sentence, which express hypothetical or unlikely situations. Modal verbs like could, would, should and might are examples of conditional verbs. Each of these modals indicate a certain meaning:

If he had finished high school , he would have gone to college .

'Would' is the most common modal verb we use in the third conditional. If he had finished high school, he certainly would have gone to college.

If he had finished high school , he might have gone to college .

If he had finished high school, maybe he would have gone to college, but we are not certain.

If he had finished high school , he could have gone to college .

If he had finished high school, he would have been able to go to college, but it depended on him.

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Zero Conditional

'If you don't eat or drink, you die'. 'If you heat water, it boils'. Zero conditional is used to talk about facts or situations which are always true.

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Conditional I

We use the conditional Type 1 when we want to talk about situations we believe are real or possible in the future. 'If I study hard, I'll pass the exam.'

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Conditional II

Type 2 conditional sentences talks about situations that are hypothetical. There is a possibility that the condition will be fulfilled, but not very likely.

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Mixed Conditional

Sometimes the two parts of a conditional sentence (the condition and the result) refer to different times. This is called a mixed conditional. Ready to learn?

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