8. 1 LANGUAGE BANK: past and mixed conditionals

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Question English
Answer English

If Leon had known about the problem, he would have helped. If you hadn't overslept, we wouldn't have been late.
Use this to talk about a hypothetical situation and result in the past. The situation cannot be changed.
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hypothetical past conditional (third conditional) If Leon had known about the problem, he would have helped. If you hadn't overslept, we wouldn't have been late.
conditional clause: if+past perfect; result clause: would/might/could + have + past participle

If I hadn't been sitting there, we wouldn't have met.
For a longer action, use the past perfect continuous
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hypothetical past conditional (third conditional): If I hadn't been sitting there, we wouldn't have met.
conditional clause: if+past perfect continuous; result clause: would/might/could+have+past participle

Why didn't you tell me you wanted some grapes? I could have bought you some.
It is common to use only one clause of the full conditional. Result clause.
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hypothetical past conditional (third conditional) Why didn't you tell me you wanted some grapes? I could have bought you some.

I'm surprised Paul didn't tell her what he thought. I would have said something.
It is common to use only one clause of the full conditional. Result clause.
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hypothetical past conditional (third conditional) I'm surprised Paul didn't tell her what he thought. I would have said something.

Would you have done it? Yes, if I'd noticed in time.
It is common to use only one clause of the full conditional. Conditional clause.
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hypothetical past conditional (third conditional) Would you have done it? Yes, if I'd noticed in time.

If she hadn't missed her plane, she'd be in Mexico now. If I'd been successful in the exam, I might have a better job now.
Use this to talk about a hypothetical condition in the past with a result in the present.
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mixed conditional: If she hadn't missed her plane, she'd be in Mexico now. If I'd been successful in the exam, I might have a better job now.
conditional clause: if+past perfect; result clause: would/might/could+infinitive

You would have known about the meeting if you'd checked your emails. You wouldn't need a visa to work in Australia if you'd been born there.
Note the non-use of the comma.
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It is possible to change the order of the clauses.
clause order

In the conditional clause use: the past perfect
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to talk about the hypothetical past.

In the result clause use: modal+have+past participle
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to talk about the past.

In the result clause use: modal+infinitive
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to talk about the present.

If the builders had begun the job two weeks ago,
a) they might have finished it by now. b) they might finish it by now.
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If the builders had begun the job two weeks ago, they might have finished it by now.

If Chun had started the race better,
a) she could win the gold medal. b) she could have won the gold medal.
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If Chun had started the race better, she could have won the gold medal.

We wouldn't be lost,
a) if you hadn't given me the wrong directions. b) if you gave me the wrong directions.
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We wouldn't be lost, if you hadn't given me the wrong directions.

If Marco hadn't ignored my advice,
a) he wouldn't be in this mess now. b) he couldn't have been in this mess now.
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If Marco hadn't ignored my advice, he wouldn't be in this mess now.

I would have noticed the hole in the ground
a) if I hadn't thought about something else. b) if I hadn't been thinking about something else.
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I would have noticed the hole in the ground if I hadn't been thinking about something else.

Beth didn't study. She didn't pass the exam.
could
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If Beth had studied, she could have passed the exam.

You didn't invite me to the party. That's why I didn't come.
would
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If you had invited me to the party, I would have come.

Ludmila lost all her money on the stock market. That's why she's not rich now.
would
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If Ludmila hadn't lost all her money on the stock market, she would be rich now.

Greg wasn't travelling fast. That's probably why he didn't hit the motorcyclist.
might
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If Greg hab been travelling fast, he might have hit the motorcyclist.

They stopped the fire. That's probably why it didn't destroy most of the building.
could
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If they hadn't stopped the fire, it could have destroyed most of the building.

The plant died because you didn't water it.
would not
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The plant would not have died, if you had watered it.

Mei-li was able to afford a new car because she had just won some money.
could not
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Mei-li couldn't have afforded a new car, if she hadn't just won some money.

We were working together in Tokyo and now we're married.
would not
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If we hadn't been working in Tokyo, we wouldn't be married now.


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