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Mixed conditionals

by John January 06, 2021

In this blog, we are going to be talking about mixed conditionals.
That’s right, I said ‘mixed’.

If you are not quite up to speed with conditionals, I suggest taking a look at Part 1 of this blog and you can brush up on the First, second and third conditionals.
Otherwise let’s start!

Mixed conditional 1

Firstly, we will jog our memories with a recap.

Remember: We use the 2nd conditional for imaginary situations, and the 3rd conditional for imaginary situations in the past.

2nd Conditional: If I had a unicorn, I would fly around the world.
3rd Conditional: If I had seen a celebrity yesterday, I would have taken a picture.

We sometimes mix both of these conditionals together.

Third + second conditional = Mixed conditional

We know the third conditional is used to talk about the past, whereas the second conditional is used to talk about the present.
Therefore this mixed conditional can be used to talk about: Past situation + present consequence

When we use this structure, we are imagining how things would be different now  if we could change something in the past.

For example: “If I had moved to America last year, I would be able to speak fluent English now.”

Third conditional + Second conditional

We use a mixed conditional to talk about the result now of an imaginary situation in the past

Mixed conditional 2

Furthermore, we can form a mixed conditional in reverse order:

Second conditional + Third conditional

Here we use a present situation and the effect that would have in the past.
Ok, that might be difficult to wrap your head around but think of it like this, you have a present reality and a something that happened in the past because of that reality.
Let’s say I am a teacher, and so, I did start working for Nasa just a dream)…

I can say: “If I weren’t a teacher, I would have got a job at Nasa”

We are imagining what could be different in the past if present reality were different.

It is a situation in the present and a consequence of that in the past.

Test Yourself

Make mixed conditionals based on the situations given.

Example: Andrew studied science and now he is not happy.

Answer: If Andrew had studied another subject he would be happy now.

  1. Simon didn’t sleep last night and now he is tired.
  2. Alba is Spanish and so she was born in Spain
  3. Paul is married so he cannot date other people.
  4. Maria doesn’t like comedies so she rented a drama film?

Test Yourself

Choose the correct sentence which has the same meaning.

2

Mixed Conditionals

1 / 6

You didn’t tell the truth. I think you should have.

2 / 6

I didn’t finish my report yesterday, so I can't go out this evening.

3 / 6

I am tired this morning because I went to bed very late.

4 / 6

The room is very cold now because you left the door open.

5 / 6

I'm hungry now because I didn't eat dinner.

6 / 6

Anita is sick now because she didn’t take her medicine.

Your score is

Vocabulary

Recap: summarize what has been said or happened previously

Phrasal Verbs

To brush up on: improve ones existing knowledge of something
Example: It has been a while since I’ve driven a car so I need to brush up on the rules of the road.

Idioms

Jog someone’s memory: cause someone to remember something.
Example: My friend jogged my memory by telling me a story of our childhood.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about mixed conditionals.

You can find more English grammar tips elsewhere on our site and if you’d like information on our English courses in Dublin, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We now offer our classes online so you can watch from anywhere in the world.

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