THE SECOND CONDITIONAL
In a Type 2 conditional
sentence, the tense in the 'if' clause is the simple past, and
the tense in the main clause is the present conditional:
If + simple past
If it rained
If you went to bed
you would get wet
you wouldn't be
In these sentences, the time is now or any
time, and the situation is unreal. They are not based on
fact, and they refer to an unlikely or hypothetical condition and
its probable result. The use of the past tense after 'if'
indicates unreality. We can nearly always add a phrase starting
with "but", that expresses the real situation:
If the weather wasn't so bad, we would go to the park
is bad, so we can't go)
If I was the Queen of England,
I would give everyone £100.
not, so I won't)
Examples of use:
1. To make a statement about something that is not real at
present, but is possible:
I would visit her if I had time.
(= I haven't got
time but I might have some time)
2. To make a statement about a situation that is not real now and
never could be real:
If I were you, I'd give up smoking
(but I could
never be you)
a. If I was a plant, I would
love the rain.
b. If you really
you would buy me a diamond ring.
c. If I knew where she lived, I
would go and
d. You wouldn't
need to read this if you understood English
e. Would he go to the concert if I gave him a ticket?
They wouldn't invite her if they didn't
g. We would be able to buy a
larger house if we had more
It is correct, and very common, to say "If I were"
instead of "If I was".