2.1 WORDS OF WISDOM: HYPOTHETICAL CONDITION: PAST

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Question English
Answer English

Paragraph 4, conditionals
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But for his advice, I would have worked myself into the ground.

Paragraph 6, conditionals
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If I'd known that statistic when I was learning the ropes, I'd be selling insurance today.

Paragraph 9, conditionals
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Had I done this, I would have said "yes" to some great books.

Paragraph 4, regrets
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I wish I'd spoken to him earlier.

Paragraph 6, regrets
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I now regret rejecting some authors who went on to have good careers.

paragraph 9, regrets
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If only I'd known then what I know now.

How do you make past conditionals?
Use to talk about something that could have happened, but didn't, or should not have happened, but did.
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If + past perfect + would + have + past participle
If I hadn't eaten that shellfish, I would have been fine.

Instead of if + past perfect, two of the conditional sentences use alternative forms. What forms are they?
paragraph 4; paragraph 9
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But for his advice, I would have...; Had I done this I would have...
paragraph 4; paragraph 9

Are these forms more or less formal than an if clause?
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more formal

Look at the conditional sentence in paragraph 6. Do both clauses refer to the past? What forms are used?
If I'd known...; I'd be selling insurance today.
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No, they don't. The first clause refers to the past; but the second clause refers to the present
past perfect; present continuous

Why do you think this is sometimes called a "mixed conditional"?
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It's called a mixed conditional because it mixes different time periods (past and present)

Two of the phrases to describe regrets use the same verb tense. What tense is this?
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past perfect
Use regret + gerund, if only + past perfect or wish + past perfect to say we want something in the past to have been different.

Rule 1 Use if + past perfect and would + present continuous/present simple
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to form a mixed conditional

Rule 2 Use a mixed conditional
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to say that if something in the past had been different, the present would be different.

Complete the sentences with the correct form of the verbs in the box.
take over, know, be, spend, find, cause, stay, pull, die, become, tell, arrive, win, listen, call, cook
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Use the negative form where necessary.

If you had (?) to my advice, you (?) in such a terrible situation now.
take over, know, be, spend, find, cause, stay, pull, die, become, tell, arrive, win, listen, call, cook
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If you had listened to my advice, you wouldn't be in such a terrible situation now.

I regret (?) a manager so young; I wish I (?) more time in the industry first.
take over, know, spend, find, cause, stay, pull, die, become, tell, arrive, win, call, cook
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I regret becoming a manager so young; I wish I had spent more time in the industry first.

We (?) your house if we (?) you on the mobile.
take over, know, find, cause, stay, pull, die, tell, arrive, win, call, cook
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We wouldn't have found your house if we hadn't called you on the mobile.

Imagine if Donner Textiles Ltd (?) the company, it (?) all kinds of problems.
take over, know, cause, stay, pull, die, tell, arrive, win, cook
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Imagine if Donner Textiles Ltd had taken over the company, it would have caused all kinds of problems.

Had they (?) us about that hotel, we (?) there now, instead of in this dump!
know, stay, pull, die, tell, arrive, win, cook
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Had they told us about that hotel, we would be staying there now, instead of in this dump!

But for the emergency services (?) so quickly, many more people (?) in the fire.
know, pull, die, arrive, win, cook
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But for the emergency services arriving so quickly, many more people would have died in the fire.

If I (?) she didn't eat wheat, I (?) pasta.
know, pull, win, cook
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If I had known she didn't eat wheat, I wouldn't have cooked pasta.

It's such a shame: had she (?) a muscle, she (?) the race.
pull, win
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It's such a shame: had she not pulled a muscle, she would have won the race.

We gambled on red. We lost.
(if/won)
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If we hadn't gambled on red, we would have won.

They only asked him to the party because he's famous.
(wouldn't)
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They wouldn't have asked him to the party if he wasn't /weren't famous.

The boys feel bad about borrowing your car.
(regret)
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The boys regret borrowing your car.

She didn't know you were a vegetarian! She bought fish!
(Had)
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Had she known you were a vegetarian, she wouldn't have bought fish.

I forgot my keys. Now we're locked out!
(if only/wouldn't)
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If only I hadn't forgotten my keys, we wouldn't be locked out.

I'm working in a boring, low-paid job. I shouldn't have dropped out of university.
(If)
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If I hadn't dropped out of university, I wouldn't be working in a boring, low-paid job.

Ahmed is sorry he didn't speak to you before you left.
(wishes)
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Ahmed wishes he had spoken to you before you left.

He had an injury. We would have won otherwise.
(But for)
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But for his injury, we would have won.

If she had helped him back then, he would (?) helped her.
Complete the sentences with one word in each gap.
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If she had helped him back then, he would have helped her.

(?) for Ahmed's efforts, this conference would not have happened.
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But for Ahmed's efforts, this conference would not have happened.

If (?) we had arrived earlier, we would have seen the sunrise.
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If only we had arrived earlier, we would have seen the sunrise.

(?) I known about her illness, I would have come sooner.
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Had I known about her illness, I would have come sooner.

I (?) doing some things I did when I was younger. I was thoughtless then!
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I regret doing some things I did when I was younger. I was thoughtless then!

I (?) I'd known about the free food!
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I wish I'd known about the free food!

If he hadn't come, everyone would (?) died.
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If he hadn't come, everyone would have died.

I (?) be working here if I hadn't met Layla in 2008.
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I would/wouldn't be working here if I hadn't met Layla in 2008.

DOUBLE CONTRACTIONS
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In the first 4 sentences, some double contractions are possible. Can you see where?

he would have helped her
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he'd've helped her.

this conference would not have happened.
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this conference wouldn't've happened

we would have seen the sunrise.
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we'd've seen the sunrise

I would have come sooner
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I'd've come sooner

a man who is thought to have magic powers; someone who is very good at something: a financial wizard

evil
his evil deeds, an evil dictator; evil spirits; an evil smell.
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very bad or harmful, or morally wrong; connected with the devil; very unpleasant.

a steady job
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a job you get paid regularly for, and is likely to continue for a long time

commute
My morning commute takes 45 minutes.
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to regularly travel a long distance to work

The most common conditional sentences refer to
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The most common conditional sentences re in English
permanent facts, future possibility or imaginary situations.

There are four main kinds of conditionals: The Zero Conditional (permanent facts):
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If you heat water to 100 degrees, it boils.
(if + present simple, ... present simple)

There are four main kinds of conditionals: The First Conditional (future possibility):
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If it rains tomorrow, we'll go to the cinema.
(if + present simple, ... will + infinitive)

There are four main kinds of conditionals: The Second Conditional (imaginary situation):
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If I had a lot of money, I would travel around the world.
(if + past simple, ... would + infinitive)

There are four main kinds of conditionals: The Third Conditional (hypothetical past):
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If I had gone to bed early, I would have caught the train.
(if + past perfect, ... would + have + past participle)

Zero conditional: General truths and general habits
if + present simple, present simple
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If you add two and two, you get four.
if + present simple, present simple

First conditional: Possible or likely things in the future
If + present simple, will + infinitive
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If it rains later, we'll stay at home.
If + present simple, will + infinitive

Second conditional: Impossible things in the present / unlikely things in the future
If + past simple, would + infinitive
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If I won the lottery, I would sail round the world.
If + past simple, would + infinitive

Third conditional: Things that didn't happen in the past and their imaginary results
If + past perfect, would + have + past participle
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If I had studied harder, I would have passed the exam.
If + past perfect, would + have + past participle

Other forms with a third conditional meaning:
Supposing; Imagine
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Supposing you'd met the president, what would you have said? Imagine you'd missed the flight, what would you have done?

In more formal contexts, it is possible to replace if by inverting the subject and had.
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Had I know her, I would have said hello.

Or replace if with but for + noun (+ gerund)
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But for Wilkinson's heroics, they would have lost the match.

mixed conditional: use to say how, if something had been different in the past, the present or future would be different.
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If she'd listened to me, she wouldn't be in debt now.

regrets: use regret + gerund, if only + past perfect or wish + past perfect to say we want something in the past to have been different.
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I regret going out last night. If only I hadn't left the oven on. He wishes he'd gone to university.

Use if only + past simple or wish + past simple to say we want something to be different now.
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If only we had some matches! I wish you were here.
After if only and wish, we often use were instead of was. Were is considered more correct in formal English, although was is often used in spoken English.

Use if only + would or wish + would to show we are annoyed by something now.
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If only you'd be more sensible! I wish you would be quiet!


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