What Are Mixed Conditionals?
Mixed Conditional: Structure
Mixed conditional structure can be:
- If + type 2 conditional, type 3 conditional
- If + type 3 conditional, type 2 conditional
The number 2 structure is the more common one. Check out the example:
Let's have a quick review of what the second and third conditional are.
Type 2 conditional
It is used to talk about hypothetical or unlikely present or future situations. Here are the examples
- If + past simple, would + base form
This sentence is hypothetical. It is raining now and it has a result in the present.
This sentence is a hypothetical situation that is very unlikely to happen.
Type 3 conditional
It is used to talk about hypothetical past situations.
- If + past perfect, would have + past participle
As we have mentioned earlier, mixed conditionals are created by combination of 2 and 3 conditionals.
Let's see some examples of the first structure:
If + third conditional + , + second conditional
The 'if clause' is a hypothetical past situation, and 'she'd be a millionaire now' is the present result of that imaginary past situation.
The 'if clause' is a hypothetical past situation, and 'I would be entering college next week' is the future result of that imaginary past situation.
Now let's see some examples of the second structure:
If + second conditional, third conditional
In this example, 'if clause' is a hypothetical present situation with a past result.
In this case, 'if clause' is a hypothetical future situation with a past result.
Time and Tense
Mixed conditional help us talk about actions through different times.
We use different tenses to talk about different times. But keep in mind that tense and time are not always the same. For example:
These two examples do not have the same tense, but they are both referring to the same time, which is past.
Mixed conditionals are sentences that use two different times. Check out the examples:
Both the 'if clause' and the 'main clause' have the same time: past. But they have different tenses in the past.
Mixed Conditionals: Functions
The most common combinations of mixed conditionals are:
1. Past Action with Present Result
With this type of mixed conditional, we are talking about changing a past action and what the hypothetical present result would be. But this result cannot happen, because we cannot change the past. check out the examples:
Here in this example, the speaker is not a college student now, but he is talking about a change in past and its result.
2. Present Condition with Past Result
With this type of mixed conditional, we imagine a different situation in the present. For example, if something were different, how the past hypothetically would be different as the result.
3. Future Action with Past Result
This function is a little more complicated than the other two, so let's explain it with an example. Imagine that you are a soccer player and tomorrow you have an important match. You will probably stay home the night before the match, eat a healthy dinner, and try to be well-rested. So you might say:
Here, the person means: I am not staying up late because I have an important match tomorrow.
Mixed conditionals are sentences that combine the second and third conditional together.
|if clause||type 3 conditional|
|main clause||type 2 conditional|
|if clause||type 2 conditional|
|main clause||type 3 conditional|
|past action with present result||
|present condition with past result||
|future action with past result||