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You are here: Home / , , , Grammar: Third Conditional (Level: B1)

Grammar: Third Conditional (Level: B1)

ESL lesson on the formation and use of the third conditional with examples and ready-to-print worksheets.

ESL lesson on the formation and use of the third conditional (if + past perfect, would + have + past participle) with plenty of examples and ready-to-print worksheets with key.
The third conditional (also known as the past hypothetical conditional or conditional type 3) is used to talk about or write about past unreal situations, past situations that didn't actually happen. Since neither action took place, the condition is unreal. 

Structure 

A third conditional sentence consists of two clauses, an “if” clause (condition/hypothesis) and a main clause (result). 

• If I had studied harder, I would have passed the exam. 
• If they had had a map, they would have found the house. 

If the “if” clause comes first, a comma is usually used. If the “if” clause comes second, there is no need for a comma. 

• I would’ve passed the exam if I’d studied harder. 
• They would’ve found the house if they’d had a map. 

We use different verb forms in each part of a third conditional. We usually use past perfect in the “if” clause (condition/hypothesis) and would + have + past participle in the main clause (result). 

• If we arrived earlier, we wouldn’t have missed the beginning of the concert. 

We can also use the modal verbs could and might instead of would in the main clause. 

• If your team had played better, you could have won the match. 
• If Susan had been more careful, she might not have broken the glass. 

You can get rid of the if, just by switching the word order. 

• Had you saved money, you could have bought a computer. 

Use

We use it to talk about things which didn’t happen in the past. We imagine how things would have been if something different had happened. 

• We would have gone on holiday if I hadn’t been ill. 
• If they had invited you to the party, would you have gone? 

We can also use the third conditional to express criticism or regret. 

• If you had saved your money, you could have bought a computer. 
• If it had snowed, we could have gone skiing.

ESL lesson on the formation and use of the third conditional with examples and ready-to-print worksheets. ESL lesson on the formation and use of the third conditional with examples and ready-to-print worksheets.

Conditional sentences rephrasing exercises with key.
Global rephrasing exercises (including conditionals, relatives, modal verbs, passive voice and much more).
More rephrasing exercises here.
And even more.