Mixed Conditionals! In many English conversations, you might see the use of a mixture of conditionals and this is known as a mixed conditional sentence. This means that the speaker is referring to an event which may or may not have happened in the past which are hypothetical. For example, ‘if I had done my homework, I wouldn’t be in detention right now.’
In this section, we are going to be looking at how we can use the mixed conditional as well as the rules surrounding its use, giving us a clearer picture of when to use it.
What Are Mixed Conditionals?
Learn how to use the Mixed Third/ Second Conditional and the Mixed Second/ Third Conditional with structure, usage and example sentences.
Mixed conditional usually refers to a mixture of the second and third conditionals (the counterfactual patterns). There are two types of mixed conditional sentence.
Mixed Third/ Second Conditional
The mixed conditional describes present result of a past condition.
Structure of Mixed Third/ Second Conditional
In this type of mixed conditional sentence, the tense in the ‘if‘ clause is the past perfect, and the tense in the main clause is the present conditional.
If + Past Perfect, Present Conditional (would/wouldn’t + Verb (bare form)).
- If I had listened to your advice, I wouldn’t be in the mess.
- If he had checked the map, he wouldn’t be lost.
- If I had gone to university, I would be a doctor now.
Using the Mixed Third/ Second Conditional
We use the mixed third/ second conditional to express that if something had been different in the past there would be a present result.
- If you had taken the course, you would know about it.
Mixed Second/ Third Conditional
The mixed conditional describes past result of a present or continuing condition.
Structure of Mixed Second/ Third Conditional
In this second type of mixed conditional sentence, the tense in the ‘if‘ clause is the simple past, and the tense in the main clause is the perfect conditional.
If + Past Simple, Perfect Conditional (would/wouldn’t + have + Past Participle).
- If I were a good cook, I would have invited them to dinner.
- If you weren’t such a poor dancer, you would have got a job in the chorus line in that musical.
Using the Mixed Second/ Third Conditional
We use the mixed second/ third conditional to express that due to certain present conditions something already happened in the past.
- If you were better at speaking in public, the presentation would have been more successful.
In these mixed conditional sentences, you can also use modals in the main clause instead of would to express the degree of certainty, permission, or a recommendation about the outcome.
- If he had enough money, he could have done this trip to Hawaii.
- If he’d gone to university, he might have a better job.
Mixed Conditionals | Image