Content / EFL / grammar-reference / conditionals-mixed .. concise-view << previous next >>

Conditional Examples Explained

There are four well-known conditional forms as follows:
Name Form Common usage
Zero When or 'If' + present verb , present verb (Without WILL) .

Note: When rather than if can give a greater feeling of certainty.

First If + present verb , will + present verb.

Note: There are other possible modals besides will and other words apart from If. For example: Unless

Second If ... + past simple, .... + would (will in the past) + bare infinitive ..
Third If ... had been (past perfect) ..., .... would have been (will in the past + present perfect) ....
Mixed conditionals are not assorted practice examples of first, second and third conditionals, but are conditionals with verb tenses mixed so that the complete sentence does not match first, second or third conditional form.
The most common mixed conditional is a condition in the past with a result in the present. It starts like a 3rd conditional but ends with would + infinitive.
  1. If I had been a singer, I would be rich!
    The If clause is in the 3rd conditional, so it’s an unreal past, and ‘would be’ (2nd conditional) is an unreal present. Unreal past condition and unreal present result.
  2. If he had been up the Eiffel Tower, he would know it’s in Paris.
    He doesn’t know the Eiffel Tower is in Paris, so he hasn’t been up the Eiffel Tower. Unreal past condition, unreal present result.
  3. If she had caught the train, she would be here by now.
    Unreal past condition and unreal present result.
  4. If I had done the homework, I would be ready.
    Unreal past condition and unreal present result.

Other mixed conditionals

Although the mixed conditional form past perfect, + would + bare infinitive shown here is the most common. There are many other possible mixed conditionals. If a sentence makes clear sense, in terms of the tense meaning and it is different to all the standard conditional forms, then it may stand as a correct sentence.

iBiscuits LOGO