After you watch Mixed Conditionals (Part 1) below, make sure you check out Part 2 here.
Today: Mixed Conditionals – Part 1. This type of conditional mixes a past condition with a present result.
This is Part 1 of a six-part guide on Mixed Conditionals. Don’t forget to check out the others.
Let’s look at an example sentence:
- If I had been born in France, I would speak fluent French.
Like all conditional sentences, this sentence has two parts: a condition and a result. Notice that the condition is imagining an alternative past. If I had been born in France. But I wasn’t born in France! Yeah, I know, but if I had been born in France!
Also notice that it’s a present result: I would speak fluent French (now).
To construct the condition, we use the past perfect tense – that is, subject + had + past participle. In this case, the verb is be born, so it becomes if I had been born.
For the present result, we use subject + would + verb: I would speak.
Because this is so long to say, native speakers shorten it. They say, “If I’d been born in France, I’d speak fluent French.” But remember, the I’d in the condition means I had, and the I’d in the result means I would.
As with all conditional sentences, we can also reverse the two clauses: I would speak fluent French if I had been born in France. Here, the condition comes second and the result comes first. Notice that when the condition comes first, we don’t separate the two clauses with a comma.
Again, native speakers usually shorten this: I’d speak fluent French if I’d been born in France.
Are you sick of that example yet? Let’s look at a few more!
- If you’d gone to the shop like I told you, we’d have some milk! (But you didn’t, so we don’t).
- If I’d had some breakfast, I wouldn’t feel so hungry now. (But I didn’t, so I do).
- If I’d gone out last weekend, I wouldn’t have any money now. (But I didn’t, so I do).
- If I hadn’t gone out, I’d be in bed by now. (But I did go out, so I’m not).
- I got a flat tire while I was driving today. If another driver hadn’t stopped to help us, we’d still be stuck on the side of the motorway.
- If Paul hadn’t plucked up the courage to ask Heather out, they wouldn’t be together now. (But they are because he did).
- If the internet hadn’t been invented, I’d spend more time outside!
OK, over to you! Use this structure to make sentences of your own, and put them in the comments section below. I look forward to reading them.
Don’t forget to watch the second video in this series Mixed Conditionals (Part 2) here!