Conditional sentences: 3rd Conditional

With the third conditional we talk about the past. We talk about a condition in the past that did not happen. That is why there is no possibility for this condition. The third conditional is also like a dream, but with no possibility of the dream coming true.

Example:

If I had won the lottery, I would have bought a new car.

Notice that we are thinking about an impossible past condition. You did not win the lottery. So the condition was not true, and that particular condition can never be true because it is finished. We use the Past Perfect tense to talk about the impossible past condition. We use would have + past participle to talk about the impossible past result. The important thing about the third conditional is that both the condition and result are impossible now.

Exercises

Exercise 1. Choose the correct option for each sentence:

1) If I had gone to England, I ______ missed Rachel’s visit.

a) had b) would have

2) If I’d gone to University, I ______ liked to have studied Economics.

a) had b) would have

3) I ______ gone to the cocktail party if I hadn’t had too much work on.

a) had b) would have

4) I ______ recognized you if somebody hadn’t told me who you were.

a) hadn’t b) wouldn’t have

5) I would have bought a Mercedes if I ______ been able to afford it.

a) had b) would have

6) I ______ sent you a postcard if I hadn’t lost your address.

a) had b) would have

7) I wouldn’t have told you if I ______ known that you would get upset.

a) had b) would have

8) I’d have come in earlier if I ______ known how much urgent work there was.

a) had b) would have

9) I ______ forgotten all about it if you hadn’t reminded me.

a) had b) would have

10) I’d have helped you if you ______ asked me.

a) had b) would have

Exercise 2. Complete the 3rd Conditional Sentences by putting the verbs into the correct form:

  1. If you (study) ……………………. for the test, you (pass) ……………………. it.
  2. If you (ask) ……………………. me, I (help) ……………………. you.
  3. If we (go) ……………………. to the cinema, we (see) ……………………. my friend Jacob.
  4. If you (speak) ……………………. English, she (understand) ……………………..
  5. If they (listen) ……………………. to me, we (be) ……………………. home earlier.
  6. I (write) ……………………. you a postcard if I (have) ……………………. your address.
  7. If I (not / break) ……………………. my leg, I (take part) ……………………. in the contest.
  8. If it (not/ start) ……………………. to rain, we (walk) ……………………. to the museum.
  9. We (swim) ……………………. in the sea if there (not / be) ……………………. so many sharks there.
  10. If she (take) ……………………. the bus, she (not / arrive) ……………………. on time.

If only / I wish

Exercise 1. Decide whether these statements express a “wish” or a “regret”:

  1. I wish I could fly.
  2. If only she had seen the doctor earlier. He could have saved her.
  3. If only I traveled to New York.
  4. I wish I were a doctor.

Exercise 2 Complete the sentences with the appropriate tense of the verb in brackets:

  1. Alice didn’t get a good grade. She wishes she (work) __________ harder.
  2. Tom likes football very much. He wishes he (become) __________ a professional football player.
  3. He was running very fast when he had a heart attack. If only he (not/run) __________ so fast.
  4. She’s keen on computers. She wishes she (study) __________computer science next school year.
  5. I am sorry I don’t know how to use the computer. If only I (know) __________how to use it.
  6. I stayed late at work and missed the last bus. I wish I (stay) __________at work late.

Transformation exercise

Rewrite the sentences using the given word, so that they mean the same as the first sentence:

a) Mary will only come to the party if Peter is invited. (unless)

b) I wish you didn’t drive so fast (only)

c) What a shame he wasn’t able to come. (wish)

d) I won’t organise the party unless you arrange the food. (long)

e) I think it would be a good idea to speak to the manager first. (were)