Using second and third conditional forms

Note that in the second conditional, we use were with all subjects. Was is also possible, but most grammarians still insist that were should be used.

  • If I were the manager, I would dismiss him. OR If I was the manager, I would dismiss him.

More examples are given below.

  • If I had $10,000 I would buy a car.
  • If I bought a car, I would go on long drives.
  • If I went on long drives, I would meet interesting people.
  • If she worked hard, you would do well on her tests.
  • If she did well on her tests, she would enter a good university.
  • If she graduated from a good university, she would get a good job.
  • If she got a good job, she would make a lot of money.
  • If she made a lot of money, she would help the poor and the needy.

Third Conditional

The third conditional is used to talk about unreal past situations. In the third conditional, we use a past perfect tense in the if-clause and would have + past participle in the result clause.

  • If I had known his motive, I would not have trusted him.
  • If she had been more beautiful, I would have married her.
  • If you had repaid the loan, they would not have confiscated your property.
  • If she had asked politely, I would have bought her a drink.

Note that the if-clause can come before or after the main clause.

  • I would have bought her a drink if she had asked more politely.