1. Mixed conditionals
2. Structure of mixed conditionals
There are different structures of mixed conditionals, but we will focus on the two most common ones, which are a combination of the second and third conditional.
Other modal verbs such as could or might can be used instead of would:
|Would||If I had seen the film, I would tell you what it's about.|
|If I had more money, I would have bought you a present.|
|Could||If I had finished earlier, I could be there with you now.|
|If you knew the truth, you could have told me.|
|Might||If you had gone to the doctor, you might feel better now.|
|If I weren't so shy, I might have asked her out.|
3. How are mixed conditionals used?
We have two different structures, so their use will depend on what we want to express.
- When we want to express that an action that took place in the past has a result in the present. In this case the part of the condition (if) will be in past perfect (third conditional) and the part that expresses the result will be with would + verb in infinitive (second conditional).If + subject + past perfect, subject + would + verb in infinitiveIf I had taken the underground, I wouldn't be in a traffic jam.If you hadn't gone to bed so late, you wouldn't feel sleepy now.
- When we want to express a probable result in the past about a situation that is not real in the present. In this case the part of the condition (if) will be in past simple (second conditional), and the sentence that expresses the result will be with would have + verb in past participle (third conditional).If + subject + past simple, subject + would + have + verb in past participleIf I had more willpower, I would have given up smoking long ago.If I were fitter, I would have finished the race.
|IF + PAST PERFECT + WOULD + VERB INFINITIVE||IF + PAST SIMPLE + WOULD + HAVE + VERB PAST PARTICIPLE|
|When we want to express that an action that took place in the past has a result in the present||When we want to express a probable result in the past about a situation that is not real in the present|
|If you had eaten your lunch, you wouldn't be hungry now.||If your answer were incorrect, I would have told you.|