1. The second conditional
In English there are several types of conditionals, among them, the second conditional. This type of conditional is used to talk about events that are not true at the present time or that are unlikely to happen in the future.
2. Structure of the second conditional
The second conditional has the following structure:
Although with the personal pronouns I, he, she, and it the form was is used as the past of the verb to be, with conditionals the form were is used instead. We can also use could instead of would.
|I||If I were invisible for one day, I could play tricks on my friends.|
|HE||If he weren't so stubborn, he would admit he was wrong.|
|SHE||If she were a good friend, she would help you.|
|IT||If it were cheaper, I could buy it.|
The order of the two sentences that make up the conditional structure can be changed. If we start with the If condition, we will separate them with a comma. If we start with the sentence that expresses the result, then we won't put a comma.
3. How is the second conditional used?
- For situations that the speaker believes are unlikely to happen in the future.If I became President, I would change many things.If I saw Madonna, I would scream.
- For situations that are not true at the present time.If I had more time, I would take up a sport.If you spoke up, I'd hear you.It should be noted that the contracted form of would is 'd.
- To give advice to someone using the expression If I were you.
If I were you, I'd say yes.If I were you, I wouldn't invite her.
|IF + PAST SIMPLE, + WOULD + VERB IN INFINITIVE (WITHOUT TO)|
|For situations the speaker considers unlikely to happen in the future.||If I were an astronaut, I would travel to the Moon.|
|For situations that are not possible in the present, that is, they are not a reality at the present time.||If I worked shifts, I would choose mornings.|
|To give advice using the expression If I were you.||If I were you, I would tell her the truth.|