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Mixed Conditionals

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An Upper-Intermediate lesson on mixed conditionals

A conditional consist of two clauses: the condition or if-clause and the main or result clause. Depending on the meaning we try to convey we have many different conditionals at our exposal to express ourselves clearly. We are going to look at two mixed conditionals that express unreal situations.

Past Condition / Present Result

The first one has a condition in the past and a present result. We use it to express that if something had been different in the past there would be a present result.

For example: if we hadn't missed our flight we'd be in Spain now.

The structure is: If + past perfect, would (could, might) + infinitive.

Present Condition / Past Result

The next one has a present condition and a past result. We use it to express that due to certain present conditions something already happened in the past.

For example: if I was more diligent, I would've finished my degree at university. The meaning is: I am not a diligent person and because of this present condition I have never finished my degree.

The structure is: if + past simple, would (could, might) have + past participle.

Look at the mixed conditionals in the diary entry below. Do you understand what Nica is trying to express? She was so mixed up after her boyfriend had left for Colombia and she started to keep a diary, using a lot of mixed conditionals. There are no grammar mistakes, but clarify and explain what she is really trying to say.

For further practice with the second conditional you can think of some advice to give Nica.

If you were in her predicament, what would you do?

If I were you, I would...

Lesson by Danica

  • If I had gone with Tito, I would not be so lonely now!



  • I would have learned Spanish if my life was not so busy.



  • If I had enough money, I would have gone with him.



  • If I had quit my job I would not have enough money to live in Colombia.



  • If I had moved to Colombia I might be poor and unhappy now.