Welcome to Part 3 of our three-part grammar guide to The Second Conditional! If you’ve missed the earlier videos in this series, we suggest that you can click the links to go back and watch Part 1 or Part 2 here first.
Today: The Second Conditional – Part 3: Results with Modal Verbs.
To review the structure of the second conditional and how to use it with the verb be, check out Parts 1 and 2.
Let’s look at an example second conditional sentence:
- If I won the lottery, I would buy you a house.
Would is used to express certainty. I would definitely buy you a house if I won the lottery.
Could expresses ability:
- If I won the lottery, I could buy you a house. (I would be able to buy you a house).
Might expresses possibility:
- If I won the lottery, I might buy you a house. That is, possibly. Maybe. I might buy you a house.
The modal verbs most often used in second conditional results are: would, wouldn’t, might, mightn’t, could, and couldn’t. Generally speaking, we avoid all other modal verbs.
Let’s look at a few other examples:
- If we had a car, we could go to the beach this weekend. But we don’t, so we can’t.
- I miss you so much! If you were here, we could go to the concert together.
- If I lost my job, we couldn’t afford to live here anymore. We’d have to downgrade to something smaller.
- Don’t judge that man so negatively. If you were in his shoes, you might see things differently.
- Paul, wake up! If you studied a little harder, you might get better grades.
OK, guys. Practice time! Try to make your own sentences and write them in the comments section below. See you next time!