Click on the video below to start learning about the Third Conditional. After watching, be sure to check out Part 2 here.
Today: “The Third Conditional – Part 1.” In this episode, we’re going to look at some sample sentences and examine the structure of the third conditional.
To review the first conditional and the second conditional, check out our earlier videos in this series.
Let’s look at an example third conditional sentence:
- If I had been born in Ancient Rome, I would have spoken Latin.
Let’s take a closer look at that sentence:
As with all conditional sentences, there are two parts. The first part is a condition (if I had been born in Ancient Rome). Notice that this condition imagines a change in the past. Third conditional sentences are about changing the past. The second part is the result (I would have spoken Latin).
The condition is made by using the past perfect — that is, subject + had + past participle (if I had been born). The result is made using would + the present perfect — that is, subject + have/has + past participle (I would have spoken).
Because this structure is so long, native speakers shorten it. If I had been born becomes if I’d been born. Also, only English teachers say, “I would have spoken.” In the real world, people replace would have with wudda or wud of (“I wudda spoken Latin” or “I wud of spoken Latin”).
Let’s look at some more examples of third conditional sentences. Pay attention to the pronunciation, too.
- Id I’d studied harder, I would have received better results.
- If Paul had come from a wealthier family, he would have had better opportunities in life.
- If the captain had been more careful, the boat wouldn’t have sunk.
- If they’d played more carefully, they wouldn’t have broken the window.
- If an asteroid hadn’t struck Earth, the dinosaurs wouldn’t have died out.
OK, it’s practice time! Can you write your own sentences using the third conditional? If so, put them in the comments section below. Best of luck! See you next time!
Have you finished the video lesson above? Great! Watch the second part of this series The Third Conditional (Part 2) here.