Second conditional

If you need some clarification regarding the second conditional, we are here to show you how to form it, how you can use it and a lot of examples!

So the speaker talks about things he/she doesn’t think will happen and about the possible results of these situations.

Second conditional contains two parts:

  1. The hypothetical or unlikely part which begins with if and then subject and the verb in the past simple
  1. The second part expresses the possible result of this imaginary situation and contains would + infinitive.

If I had a lot of time, I would visit all my relatives on their birthdays

The two parts can be used in any order.

The second conditional sentences don't talk about the past.

The past form is used to show that the situation is unreal or imaginary in the present. The would clause expresses the result of this imaginary action.

If I had a lot of time, I would visit all my relatives on their birthdays.

When the would part is first, you don’t need a comma between the two parts.

I would visit all my relatives if I had a lot of time.

IMPORTANT!

Don't use would in if clause:

If I would have a lot of time, I would visit all my relatives... it is WRONG.

Don't forget:

if + past simple, … would + infinitive

  • If we all used the mobile phones less, there would be a lot of evenings spent together.
  • If I lived in the mountains, I’d go skiing every day.
  • If I lived in America, I would be rich.
  • If I had more free time, I would read a lot.

EXAMPLES:

  • Diana has an exam and studies all night. She doesn’t pass the exam because she is too tired in the morning. = If she didn’t study all night for the exam, she would pass it in the morning.
  • I am not rich, so I can’t buy that expensive car. = If I were rich, I could buy that expensive car.
  • I don’t have enough money, I can’t buy you that toy-train. = If I had enough money, I would buy you that toy-train.
  • My son doesn’t enter the Olympic team, because he isn’t good enough at Maths. = If he was good enough at Maths, he would enter the Olympic team.
  • I can’t go home by car, because I haven’t got one, I’ll go by tram. = If I had a car, I wouldn’t go home by tram.
  • He doesn’t study enough so he can’t pass the exam. = He could/would pass the exam if he studied enough.
  • We work very well together, our team is great, that’s why we have good results/ that’s why we succeed. = We wouldn’t have good results, if we didn’t work together as a great team.
  • I don’t have enough time to go to the market, I’m so sorry. = If I had enough time, I would go to the market.
  • I am not a very hard-working person, so I don’t tidy my room every day. = If I were a very hard-working person, I would tidy my room every day.

or:

  • I am a lazy one, I don’t make my bed in the morning. = If I weren’t so lazy, I would make my bed in the morning.
  • I am not you, so I can’t do anything regarding this relationship. = If I were you, I would do something regarding this relationship.
  • If I were you, I would go to the doctor. = I am not you, so I can’t go to the doctor.
  • The tank is empty now because you don’t fill it with petrol regularly = If you filled the tank with petrol regularly, it wouldn’t be empty now.
  • I work this Friday evening, so I can’t go to the theatre with you, guys. = If I didn’t work this Friday evening, I could go to the theatre with you, guys.

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