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THE THIRD CONDITIONAL



    In a Type 3 conditional sentence, the tense in the 'if' clause is the past perfect, and the tense in the main clause is the perfect conditional:


'IF' CLAUSE

MAIN CLAUSE

If + past perfect

If it had rained
If you had worked harder

Perfect conditional

you would have got wet
you would have passed the exam.



    In these sentences, the time is past, and the situation is contrary to reality. The facts they are based on are the opposite of what is expressed.

    Type 3 conditional sentences, are truly hypothetical or unreal, because it is now too late for the condition or its result to exist. There is always an unspoken "but..." phrase:


  • If I had worked harder I would have passed the exam
    (
    but I didn't work hard, and I didn't pass the exam).

  • If I'd known you were coming I'd have baked a cake
    (
    but I didn't know, and I haven't baked a cake).


NOTE:

Both would and had can be contracted to 'd, which can be confusing. Remember that you
NEVER use would in the IF-clause, so in the example above, "If I'd known" must be "If I had known", and "I'd have baked" must be "I would have baked.."

Examples:

a. If I'd known you were in hospital, I would have visited you.
b. I
would have bought you a present if I'd known it was your birthday.
c. If
they'd had a better goalkeeper they wouldn't have lost the game.
d. If you
had told me you were on the Internet, I'd have sent you an e-mail.
e. Would you have bought an elephant if you'd known how much they eat?



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