30) Conditional sentences

Conditional sentences

Conditional sentences are made up of:

1) A main clause

2) A subordinate clause usually beginning with ‘if’

For example:

I would stare at the stars all night if it wasn’t so cold.

Here we have the main clause ‘I would stare at the stars all night’ and the subordinate clause ‘if it wasn’t so cold’ which begins with ‘if’. We can also switch these statements around as in:

If it wasn’t so cold, I would stare at the stars all night.

To understand conditional sentences, it is really important to understand the verb tenses, which we looked at in depth earlier. 

1) Different types of conditional sentences

There are 5 different types of conditional sentences:

1.1 Zero conditional sentences (or present real conditional)

The zero conditional / present real conditional is a form which describes real conditional situations in the simple present tense. In zero conditionals, both the main clause and the subordinate clause are in the simple present tense.

An example of a zero conditional / present real conditional sentence is :

If I heat water to 100 degrees, it changes form.

Let’s look at the subordinate clause first:

If I heat water to 100 degrees

This subordinate clause uses the pronoun ‘I’ indicating it is in the first person, and the verb ‘heat’ which is the simple present tense spelling for the first person singular. Now let’s look at the main clause:

It changes form

Here we have the third person singular pronoun ‘it’ and the verb ‘changes’ which is spelt in the simple present tense form for the third person singular.

Now let’s look at the whole sentence, and have a think about its meaning:

If I heat water to 100 degrees, it changes form

This is talking about something which pretty much always happens. Therefore, this form is useful for scientific facts. However, I am reluctant to say this form talks only about definite facts because we can have sentences like:

If I eat a lot of food, I usually feel sleepy.

In this situation, the adverb ‘usually’ is telling us that this condition doesn’t always happen. We can take it a step further with something like:

If I get up before 10am, I sometimes feel tired.

In this situation the adverb ‘sometimes’ is telling us this only happens some of the time, perhaps even with the slight implication that this isn’t the majority of the time. Neither of these two examples are talking about a connection between the ‘if’ clause and the main clause which happens all of the time.

A common everyday use for the zero conditional / present real form is to give instructions to someone, as in:

If you drink alcohol tonight, don’t drive afterwards.

This uses the simple present tense verbs ‘drink’ and ‘drive’ to give instructions. Another example is:

If the delivery arrives, leave it with the neighbours.

In the zero conditional / present real conditional forms we can also use ‘when’ and ‘unless’ instead of ‘if’ at the beginning of the subordinate clause to get a slightly different feel. For example:

When one heats water to 100 degrees, it changes form.

Note I used the third person singular ‘one’ here which led to the main verb simple present tense ‘heats’. Further note that ‘when’ creates a sense that the act of heating water is more certainly going to happen than ‘if’.

An example using ‘unless’ is:

An hour of singing is enough, unless the audience are greedy.

Note the simple present tense verbs ‘is’ and ‘are’. ‘Unless’ adds another interesting aspect to the sentence by giving a counter condition to the main clause ‘an hour of singing is enough’.

1.2 First conditional / future real conditional

The first conditional / future real conditional is a form which describes a specific, real, conditional situation, and the result that it would lead to in the future. The subordinate clause will use the simple present tense, while the main clause will use the simple future tense, which is formed by will + the base form of the verb.

To reiterate:

a) Subordinate clause: simple present tense (base form of verb apart from when the subject is first person singular, then has various endings e.g., ‘s’ or ‘es’)

b) Main clause: simple future tense (‘will’ + base form of the verb)

An example of this is:

If I run for 5 minutes, my heart rate will increase.

Let’s look at the subordinate clause first:

If I run for 5 minutes

This sentence uses the pronoun ‘I’ indicating it is in the first person, and the verb ‘run’, which is the simple present tense spelling for the first person singular. Now let’s look at the main clause:

my heart rate will increase

Here we have the simple future tense form ‘will’ + the base form of the verb (form seen in dictionary). In this instance that is ‘will’ + ‘increase’ (the base form of the verb).

Now let’s look at the whole sentence and have a think about its meaning

If I run for 5 minutes, my heart rate will increase.

This sentence is saying that if one thing happens (‘I run for 5 minutes’) then another thing will happen after it (‘my heart rate will increase’).

The difference between first conditional / future real conditional and zero conditional / present real conditional is subtle. The most obvious difference is that the zero / present real conditionals are talking about a conditional event in the present, and the result of that event in the present, such as:

If I heat water to 100 degrees, it changes form.

So we have a conditional event in the present (‘If I heat water to 100 degrees’) and the result of that event in the present (‘it changes form’). In contrast, the first conditional / future real conditional sentences  express a conditional event in the present, and the real result of that event in the future, as in:

If I heat water to 100 degrees, it will change form.

Here we have a conditional event in the present (‘If I heat water to 100 degrees’) and the result of that event in the future (‘it will change form’). So, essentially, the main difference is that the resultant event is the present in the zero conditional/ present real conditional, and in the future in the first conditional / future real conditional.

This subtle difference can lead to some interesting implications. We can think about this in a number of ways.

One way of looking at it is that zero / present real conditionals are more related to general truths about events which are going to happen as in:

If I heat water to 100 degrees, it changes form.

So, this happens every time I heat water to 100 degrees, and is therefore talking about a general truth. In contrast, the first conditional / future real conditional sentences are more related to a specific event which may or may not happen in the future, with a statement about what the outcome of this event may be, as in:

If I run for 5 minutes, my heart rate will increase.

While his heart rate increasing is something that is likely to happen every time he runs for 5 minutes, the use of ‘will’ suggests, at least to me, that this is talking about this one particular time where he may run for 5 minutes. Furthermore, we don’t know for sure if he will, or will not, run for 5 minutes at some point. A zero conditional version of this sentence would be:

If I run for 5 minutes, my heart rate increases.

This zero conditional sentence could be said to be expressing a more general sentiment, that every time he runs for 5 minutes his heart rate increases.

Another informative difference is the meaning created by the use of ‘if’ and ‘when’ in the subordinate clause part of both of these conditional sentences. Starting with the zero conditional sentence, if we change ‘if’ to ‘when’ we get:

If I run for 5 minutes, my heart rate increases.

When I run for 5 minutes, my heart rate increases.

Using ‘when’ suggests the event (running for 5 minutes) happens more regularly than when ‘if’ is used. Now let’s replace ‘if’ with ‘when’ in a first conditional statement:

If I run for 5 minutes, my heart rate will increase.

When I run for 5 minutes, my heart rate will increase.

In this situation, ‘if’ tells us that the event may, or may not, happen, whereas ‘when’ tells us it will happen at some point. This subtle difference is related to the aforementioned function of the sentences. In zero conditional sentences we are often talking about general truths; therefore, these general events must happen at some point or they wouldn’t express a general truth. In contrast, in first conditional statements we are talking about specific events, so it makes sense that these specific events may, or may not, happen.

1.3 Second conditional / present unreal conditional

The second conditional / present unreal conditional expresses an unreal, or hypothetical, situation, and the probable outcome if it did occur.

In the subordinate clause the verb is in the past tense, and in the main clause there are two constructions. The first one has the the modal auxiliary ‘would’ + the base form of the verb, and describes a hypothetical situation, and its probable result which would occur in the present or the future. The second – which is akin to the progressive present tense – involves ‘would’ + ‘be’ + the present participle of the verb, and describes a hypothetical situation and its probable result which would be ongoing, or unfinished. To summarise, we have:

1) Subordinate clause with verb in past simple tense

2) Main clause with either

a) ‘would’ + base form of the verb (for present, or future, probable results)

b) ‘would’ + ‘be’ + the present participle of the verb (for ongoing probable results)

Let’s look at an example with ‘would’ + the base form of the verb first:

If the food were hot, I would eat it.

Let’s break down each clause, looking at the subordinate clause first:

If the food were hot

Here we have the simple past tense ‘were’, and the description of a conditional hypothetical situation. Then let’s look at the main clause:

I would eat it

Here we have the modal auxiliary ‘would’ + the base form of the verb ‘eat’, and a probable result that would occur if the conditional hypothetical situation actually occurred. Now let’s look at the sentence together:

If the food were hot, I would eat it.

Here we have a sentence which gives a conditional hypothetical situation (‘If the food were hot’) then gives a probable result if that hypothetical situation really occurred (‘I would eat it’). Note how the hypothetical ‘if the food were hot’ is implying that the food isn’t hot, and the main clause ‘I would eat it’ is suggesting that the writer isn’t going to eat the food.

Now let’s look at an example of the form ‘would’ + ‘be’ + the present participle of the verb:

If it were sunny, I would be walking home.

Let’s break it down, starting with the subordinate clause:

If it were sunny

As with the previous form, here we have the simple past tense ‘were’ and a description of a hypothetical situation. Now let’s look at the main clause:

I would be walking home

Here we have ‘would’ + ‘be’ + the present participle ‘walking’, and a description of a probable continuous response to the hypothetical situation. By ‘continuous’ I mean the response to the situation is worded as though it would be an ongoing event in the present, making it similar to the present progressive tense. Let’s look at the the sentence together:

If it were sunny, I would be walking home.

Here we have a hypothetical situation (‘If it were sunny’) followed by a probable continuous response to the hypothetical situation (‘I would be walking home’). Note that ‘if it were sunny’ suggests it isn’t sunny and ‘I would be walking home’ suggests the writer isn’t walking home. How is this different to the ‘would’ + base form of the verb form? Let’s compare the above sentence with a version of it involving ‘would’ + base form of the verb:

If it were sunny, I would walk home.

If it were sunny, I would be walking home.

In the subordinate clause of the sentence ‘If it were sunny, I would walk home.’ we have ‘would’ + ‘walk’ (base form of the verb). This is giving us a hypothetical situation (‘If it were sunny’) and then a probable result (‘I would walk home’) that would happen at some point, either in the present or the future. However, in the subordinate clause of the sentence ‘If it were sunny, I would be walking home.’ we have ‘would’ + ‘be’ + the present participle ‘walking’ which gives us a hypothetical situation (‘If it were sunny’) and then a probable result (‘I would be walking home’) that would be ongoing, or unfinished.

Use of ‘were’ vs ‘was’ in second conditional sentences

There is some controversy out there about whether to use ‘was’ or ‘were’ in these conditional sentences. The confusion arises because ‘was’ and ‘were’ are both past tense forms of the verb ‘be’. ‘Was’ is used for the past tense first person singular, and the past tense third person singular, of ‘be’. For example:

I was happy. (past tense first person singular of ‘be’)

He/she/it was happy. (past tense third person singular of ‘be’)

Moreover, ‘were’ is used as the past second person singular and plural, and in the past tense first, and third person plural. For example:

You were happy. (past tense second person singular and plural)

We were happy. (past tense first person plural)

They were happy. (past tense third person plural)

If we just looked at this, we would probably conclude that:

If it were sunny, I would walk home.

should be

If it was sunny, I would walk home.

However, ‘were’ is also used for the subjunctive mood. This means that ‘were’ is often used to express hypothetical statements in the present, or future, like ‘If it were sunny, I would walk home.’ So, to clarify:

If it were sunny, I would walk home.

might be considered wrong by some because ‘was’ is usually used for the third person singular ‘it’ rather than ‘were’. However:

If it was sunny, I would walk home.

might be considered wrong by others because ‘were’ is used for hypothetical statements, as we saw back when we looked at the subjunctive mood.

The choice on this is up to you. I tend to go with the subjunctive ‘were’ because I love its implication of the hypothetical. To me, it adds an extra touch that really highlights the point that what I am saying is hypothetical, rather than being a straight factual situation or condition. Have a think about which one you prefer.

Another difference between the use of ‘was’ and ‘were’ can be seen when inverting the sentence so that it begins with one of these words. Let’s have a look at this next.

Inversion leading to ‘if’ being left out

In the second conditional, the subordinate clause part can invert the auxiliary verb ‘were’ so that it comes before the subject, and ‘if’ can be deleted, so that:

If it were sunny, I would walk home.

becomes

Were it sunny, I would walk home.

It is interesting to note that this doesn’t work with ‘was’, as in:

Was it sunny, I would walk home. (incorrect)

which is another argument for using ‘were’ rather than ‘was’ in this situation.

Difference between first and second conditional

Let’s look at the difference between the first and second conditionals with an example of each side by side:

First conditional sentence: ‘If it is sunny, I will walk home.’

Second conditional sentence: ‘If it were sunny, I would walk home.’

The subtle difference is the first conditional sentence is talking about a specific event where it may be sunny, or not, whereas the second conditional sentence is implying that it isn’t sunny by saying ‘if it were sunny’. To reiterate, the first conditional sentence is essentially saying ‘if at this specified time it is sunny, I will walk home, but if it isn’t, I won’t’, whereas the second conditional sentence is saying something like ‘It isn’t sunny, but if it were sunny, I would walk home.’

Another telling difference between the two is that we cannot replace ‘if’ with ‘when’ in second conditional sentences, whereas we can in zero and first conditional sentence. Let’s look at examples of each:

Zero conditional

If it is sunny, I walk home.’

When it is sunny, I walk home.’

 

First conditional

If it is sunny, I will walk home.’

When it is sunny, I will walk home.’

Now, if we tried to do that with second conditional we get:

Second conditional

If it were sunny, I would walk home.’

When it were sunny, I would walk home.’ (incorrect)

The use of ‘when’ is incorrect here because it is changing the meaning from a hypothetical scenario which may not happen, to one which will happen at some point. This might be more noticeable if we use an example which is likely impossible, as in:

If I were 1000 feet tall, I would live alone.

When I were 1000 feet tall, I would live alone. (incorrect)

The idea that him being ‘1000 feet tall’ is definitely going to happen at some point is absurd, highlighting the fact that ‘when’ cannot be used in second conditional sentences.

Can use other modals

The modals ‘could’ and ‘might’ can also be used in second conditionals, as in

If it were sunny, I could walk home.

If it were sunny, I might walk home.

The differences between these two are subtle. ‘could’ is telling us that the writer is capable of walking home, while ‘might’ is telling us it is a possibility he will walk home.

1.4 Third conditional / past unreal conditional

The third conditional / past unreal conditional form expresses what would have happened if an event in the past that didn’t happen had actually occurred.

The subordinate clause is in is the perfect past tense, and the verb construction of the main clause has two forms. The first uses ‘would’ + ‘have’ + past participle and the second uses ‘would have been’ + present participle. To clarify, we have:

1) Subordinate clause: past perfect tense (‘had’ + past participle)

2) Main clause

a) ‘would’ + ‘have’ + past participle

b) ‘would have been’ + present participle

Let’s look at an example of the would + have + past participle form:

If he had walked, he would have been late.

Let’s look at the two clauses independently first:

If he had walked

Here we have had + the past participle ‘walked’ to talk about a situation in the past that didn’t happen. Now let’s look at the main clause:

He would have been late

Here we have ‘would’ + ‘have’ + the past participle ‘been’ to talk about the probable reaction that would have occurred if the condition in the aforementioned subordinate clause had been met. Now let’s look at the sentence as a whole:

If he had walked, he would have been late.

Here we have a subordinate clause expressing a situation in the past that didn’t happen (‘if he had walked’) and a main clause expressing the probable reaction (‘he would have been late’) that would have occurred if the situation in the subordinate clause had happened. Essentially, third conditionals are used to imagine what would have happened, in the past, if a past event that didn’t happen had actually occurred. This means they are often reflective, and full of lessons, such as:

If I had worked harder, I would have performed better.

Now let’s look at an example of the third conditional which uses the form ”would have been’ + present participle in its main clause:

If he had walked, he would have been running late.

Let’s break down each section, starting with the subordinate clause:

If he had walked

Here we have ‘had’ + the past participle ‘walked’ to talk about a situation in the past that didn’t happen. Now let’s look at the main clause:

he would have been running late

Here we have ‘would have been’ + the present participle ‘running’ to talk about the probable ongoing reaction that would have occurred if the condition in the aforementioned subordinate clause had been met. The difference here is that the present participle ‘running’ is telling us that this action is ongoing, rather than in the past, as with the past participle. Now let’s look at the sentence as a whole:

If he had walked, he would have been running late.

Here we have a subordinate clause expressing a situation in the past that didn’t happen (‘if he had walked’) and a main clause (‘he would have been running late’) expressing the probable ongoing reaction that would have occurred if the situation in the subordinate clause had happened. Let’s put the two forms next to each other, to clarify the difference:

If he had walked, he would have been late.

If he had walked, he would have been running late.

 

If I had worked harder, I would have performed better

If I had worked harder, I would have been performing better.

Comparison of second and third conditionals

Let’s compare a second and a third conditional:

Second conditional: ‘If it were sunny, I would walk home.’

Third conditional: ‘If it had been sunny, I would have walked home.’

The main difference between these two is that the second conditional is in the present, and the third conditional is in the past. We see this in the two continuous forms as well, as in:

Second conditional: ‘If it were sunny, I would be walking home.’

Third conditional: ‘If it had been sunny, I would have been walking home.’

Again, the main difference is that the continuous second conditional is in the hypothetical ongoing present, and the continuous third conditional is in the hypothetical ongoing past.

Other modals

In the third conditional we can also replace ‘would’ with the modal auxiliaries ‘could’ and ‘might’ as in:

If I had worked harder, I could have performed better.

If I had worked harder, I might have performed better.

The difference between these two is subtle. ‘Could’ is telling us that if the writer had worked harder he was capable of performing better, or, more broadly, there was a potential that the working harder would have lead to him performing better. Another interpretation perhaps gives the suggestion that he had some choice in whether he performed better or not. However, this particular interpretation doesn’t make a lot of sense in this context because surely if he could have performed better, he would have. A better example of this might be:

If I had wanted to, I could have performed better.

Now he is saying that he was capable of performing better, but he didn’t want to; he had the choice, but chose not to. In contrast, ‘might’ is saying that it was a possibility that he would have performed better. This makes more sense in this context. However, if we tried to put ‘might’ into the latter example, it wouldn’t make sense:

If I had wanted to, I might have performed better.

So ‘might’ is more suited for the possibility that something happened, and ‘could’ for the capability of doing something, especially when having a choice in the matter.

Contractions

A confusion can be caused by contractions in third conditionals because both ‘would’ and ‘had’ can be contracted with a ‘d’ as in:

I would = I’d

I had = I’d

An example of a third conditional with ‘I would’ contracted to ‘I’d’ is:

If it had been sunny, I‘d have walked home.

An example of a third conditional with ‘I had’ contracted to ‘I’d’ is:

If I‘d worked harder, I would have performed better.

These two examples illustrate a couple of ways of telling if ‘I’d’ is abbreviating for ‘I would’ or ‘I had’ in third conditional sentences. The first is that we cannot have ‘would’ in the subordinate clause part of a third conditional because that would give us examples like:

If I would had worked harder, I would have performed better. (incorrect)

Therefore, if the ‘I’d’ is in the subordinate clause it is likely to be ‘I had’. Furthermore, the main clause in third conditionals cannot have ‘had’ before the ‘have’, or we get examples like this:

If I had worked harder, I would had have performed better. (incorrect)

Therefore, if the ‘I’d’ is before the ‘have’ in the main clause it is likely abbreviated for ‘I had’. If we now look back to the two original examples, we see this in action:

If it had been sunny, I‘d have walked home.

If I‘d worked harder, I would have performed better.

Cannot use ‘when’ in the main clause to replace ‘if’

We cannot use ‘when’ to replace ‘if’ in the main clause in third conditionals because we are talking about imagined situations, often which are impossible. For example:

If I had worked harder, I would have performed better.

When I had worked harder, I would have performed better. (incorrect)

This makes no sense because ‘when’ is telling us this either has, or will, happen at some point, but the working harder is an imagined situation in the past, so it cannot ever come true now.

Inversion leading to ‘if’ being left out

As with the second conditional, the subordinate clause part of the third conditional can invert the auxiliary verb ‘had’ so that it comes before the subject, and ‘if’ can be deleted, so that:

If I had worked harder, I would have performed better.

becomes

Had I worked harder, I would have performed better.

1.5 Mixed conditional

Mixed conditional sentences are those where the situation in the subordinate clause is in a different time to that in the main clause. Let’s look at examples from each.

Past and Present

An example of a conditional sentence where the subordinate clause is in the past and the main clause is in the present is:

If he had won the race, he would be champion now.

Here we have a description of a hypothetical condition in the past (winning the race) followed by a hypothetical result that would be occurring in the present (being champion). Let’s break down each clause separately to see how this is achieved:

If he had won the race

Here we have the auxiliary ‘had’ supporting the ‘the past participle ‘won’, giving us the perfect past tense ‘If he had won the race’. Now for the main clause:

He would be champion now

Then we have the base form of the verb ‘be’, which is helped by the modal auxiliary verb ‘would’, to give the simple present tense ‘He would be champion now’.

Past and future

An example of a conditional sentence where the subordinate clause is in the past, and the main clause is in the future is:

If I had worked harder, I would be graduating tomorrow.

Here we have a description of a hypothetical condition in the past (working harder) followed by a hypothetical result in the future (graduating tomorrow) Let’s break down each clause separately to see how this is achieved:

If I had worked harder

Here we have the auxiliary ‘had’ supporting the ‘the past participle ‘worked’ giving us the perfect past tense ‘If I had worked harder’. Now for the main clause:

I would be graduating tomorrow

Here we have the modal auxiliary ‘would’ supporting the main verb ‘be’, combined with the present participle ‘graduating’, giving us a sort of imaginary progressive future tense. A common construction for getting a progressive future statement is ‘will be’ + present participle, but we are talking about a hypothetical situation, so we have used ‘would’ instead. If it was a real situation, it would be something like:

I worked very hard all year, therefore I will be graduating tomorrow.

Present and future

An example of a conditional sentence where the subordinate clause is in the present and the main clause is in the future is:

If I were the manager, I would work from home tomorrow.

Here we have a description of a hypothetical condition in the present (being the manager) followed by a hypothetical result in the future (working from home tomorrow) Let’s break down each clause separately to see how this is achieved:

If I were the manager

The use of the verb ‘were’ is interesting here because it is one of the simple past tenses of ‘be’ (along with ‘was’) but is actually expressing the present here. We saw that there are many ways to express past, present and future when we looked at whether there is a future tense previously, here. The verb ‘were’ is also in the subjunctive mood here because it is an imaginary event. It is during these hypothetical situations that we usually see the simple past tense being used to express the present.

The main clause is:

I would work from home tomorrow

Here we have the modal auxiliary ‘would’ supporting the main verb ‘work’ + the important noun ‘tomorrow’ to describe an imaginary situation in the future. This is similar to the simple future tense which uses ‘will’ + the base of the verb, except we are using ‘would’ because it is an imaginary situation. If it was a real future situation we could write:

Because I am the manager, I will work from home tomorrow.

Future and past

An example of a conditional sentence where the subordinate clause is in the future, and the main clause is in the past is:

If I were arriving before 10pm, I would have booked us a restaurant.

Here we have a description of a hypothetical condition in the future (arriving before 10pm) followed by a hypothetical result in the past (having previously booked a restaurant) Let’s break down each clause separately to see how this is achieved:

If I were arriving before 10pm.

Here we have the usually progressive past tense form ‘were’ + the present participle ‘arriving’ actually helping us to express an event in the future. This is because it is an imaginary event, and, therefore, in the subjunctive mood, where the use of ‘were’ often changes, as we saw earlier. Now for the main clause:

I would have booked us a restaurant.

Here we have the modal auxiliary ‘would’ + the auxiliary ‘have’ + the past participle ‘booked’ to describe a situation in the past. This is somewhat similar to the perfect future tense which uses ‘will have’ + the past participle to describe an action which will be completed in the future. However, because it is imaginary we use ‘would’. An example of a real situation for comparison is:

I will have booked us a restaurant by 5pm.

Future and present

An example of a conditional sentence where the subordinate clause is in the future, and the main clause is in the present is:

If I were running the marathon tomorrow, I would be sleeping right now.

Here we have a description of a hypothetical condition in the future (running the marathon tomorrow) followed by a hypothetical result in the present (sleeping) Let’s break down each clause separately to see how this is achieved:

If I were running the marathon tomorrow.

Here we have the usually progressive past tense form ‘were’ + the present participle ‘running’ actually helping us to express an event in the future. This is because it is an imaginary event, and, therefore, in the subjunctive mood, where the use of ‘were’ changes, as we saw earlier. Now for the main clause

I would be sleeping right now.

Here we have the modal auxiliary verb ‘would’ + the auxiliary ‘be’ + the present participle ‘sleeping’ combining to give us an imaginary event in the present. This is similar to the perfect progressive future ‘will have been’ + present participle form, except it uses ‘would’ instead of ‘will’ because it is imaginary.

2) Table summarising main four conditionals

A table summarising the four main conditional types is below:

Type Subordinate Clause Main Clause Example
Zero Conditional / Present Real Conditional Simple Present Simple Present If I heat water to 100 degrees, it changes form
First Conditional / Future Real Conditional Simple Present Simple Future If I run for 5 minutes, my heart rate will increase
Second Conditional / Present Real Conditional Simple Past a) ‘would’ + base form of the verb (for present, or future, probable results)

b) ‘would’ + ‘be’ + the present participle of the verb (for ongoing probable results)

a) If the food were hot, I would eat it

b) If it were sunny, I would be walking home

Third Conditional / Past Unreal Conditional Past Perfect (‘had’ + past participle) a) ‘would’ + ‘have’ + past participle

b) ‘would have been’ + present participle

a) If he had walked, he would have arrived late.

b) If he had walked, he would have been running late.

3) Questions

1) Explain the different types of conditional sentences

Now let’s move on to our final section: sentences in detail.

NEXT: 31) Sentences in detail

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