English

Second conditional

( Free Online English Grammar Lessons )

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Second Conditional Form : ( If + subject + past simple, subject + would + infinitive (verb 1) )

In English we use the second conditional to talk about situations or actions in the present or future, which are not likely to happen or are imaginary, hypothetical or impossible.

Example Sentences :

  • If she didn't work so hard, she wouldn't feel so exhausted.(she does work hard)
  • If we lived in Tokyo, we would live in a small apartment. (We probably won't)
  • If I won the lottery, I'd travel around the world. (It is unlikely)
  • If I had enough money, I'd buy that jacket. (I haven't got enough money)
  • If I had some free time, I'd go with you. (I don't have any free time)

The 'if phrase' can come first or second.

  • If I won the lottery, I'd travel around the world. / I'd travel around the world if I won the lottery. 

Notes for use of second conditional :

With the verb 'be' you can use 'were' instead of 'was' after I/he/she/it.

Example Sentences :

  • If I were younger, I'd come with you.
  • If she were rich, she'd move to the Caribbean. 

In English we can use 'could' or 'might' in the main clause instead of 'would'. We can use 'could' instead of 'would' to talk about ability or possibility, and we can use 'might' instead of 'would' to mean 'would perhaps'.

Example Sentences :

  • If the police caught me, I could deny everything.
  • If I really needed the money, I might keep it.
  • If I had more money, I could buy a car.
  • If I won the lottery, I might give all the money to charity.

Even if = it doesn't matter if the situation in the if clause exists or not.

  • I'd go to the party, even if I had to dress up.
  • In second conditionals we can say If I/he/she/it was... or If I/he/she/it were...
  • If I was/were rich, I'd buy a house in London.

In English we can use other words to replace 'if' in conditionals.

Provided/ as long as = only if this happens

  • Provided you cleaned up afterwards, I'd let you have a party at my house.
  • I'd tell you about it as long as you promised to keep it a secret.

Assuming = accepting that something is true.

  • Assuming the restaurant was affordable, I'd invite my friends there for lunch.
  • Imagine/Suppose = picture what something could be like in your mind

In English we can use these words as an alternative for 'if' in questions.

  • Suppose you found a wallet full of money on the street, would you keep it?
  • Imagine you won a trip for two to Bali, would you take your mum?

In English we can use these alternatives for 'if' in other conditionals to talk about real situations.

  • I'll see you at 8pm, provided I don't have to work late.
  • We'll take a short trip to Melbourne, as long as it's not too expensive.
  • Let's go to that nice cafe on the corner, assuming it's still in business.

We can say provided or providing and suppose or supposing.

We can also use 'unless' in conditionals to mean 'if not'.

  • I wouldn't work all weekend unless I really had to.
  • Unless I knew the streets well, I wouldn't drive in the city.

Second Conditional Questions :

In English we often make questions in the second conditional with What would you do ...? This phrase can come at the beginning or the end of the question.

  • What would you do if someone gave you a million dollars?
  • If someone asked you to jump off a cliff, what would you do?


First Conditional VS Second Conditional :

First conditional : If she studies hard, she'll pass the exam. = She's a good student and I think she might pass the exam = possible situation

Second conditional : If she studied hard, she'd pass the exam. = She's not a good student and she never studies, so I don't think she will pass the exam = imaginary situation

Second conditional example sentences
I guess that would be perfect if you could really do it!
It would be so great if you could fit us in!
If you could find an undamaged packet, it would be better.
Hi, I would be very surprised if you were on time!
Hey, what would you do if the same old lady opened the door?
I put the wine in the freezer, if it's cold, that would be nice.
If Bear were my dog, I would be taking him out less.
Would you mind if we dropped by and just had a drink there?


Be going to
Be going to passive
Be used to / Get used to
Comparative
Defining relative clause
Echo tag
Expression
First conditional
Future
Future continuous
Future perfect continuous
Future perfect passive
Future perfect simple
Future simple passive
Greeting
Have/Get something done
Imperative
Implied conditional
Indirect question
Infinitive of purpose
Interjection
Mixed conditional
Modal
Modal passive
Non-defining relative clause
Other
Past continuous
Past continuous passive
Past perfect continuous
Past perfect passive
Past perfect simple
Past simple
Past simple passive
Polite request / offer / suggestion
Present continuous
Present continuous passive
Present perfect continuous
Present perfect passive
Present perfect simple
Present simple
Present simple passive
Question tag
Reduced relative clause
Reported speech imperative
Reported speech question
Reported speech request
Reported speech statement
Second conditional
Short answer
Superlative
Third conditional
Used to / would (past habit)
Was/were going to
Was/were supposed to
Wish
Would rather
Zero conditional