Mixed Conditional | English Conditionals | English Grammar

Mixed conditional‘ usually refers to a mixture of the second and third conditionals (the counterfactual patterns). Here either the condition or the consequence, but not both, has a past time reference. There are two types of mixed conditional sentence.

Mixed Third/ Second Conditional

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)).

For example:

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.

For example:

If you had taken the course, you would know about it.

 

Mixed Second/ Third Conditional

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).

For example:

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.

For example:

If you were better at speaking in public, the presentation would have been more successful.

Note

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.

For example:

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.

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