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 Third conditional

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PostSubject: Third conditional   9/2/2011, 10:00 pm


Third conditional


We
can use the Third Conditional to talk about 'impossible' conditions,
impossible because they are in the past and we cannot change what has
happened.



  • If I had worked harder at school, I would have got better grades.
  • If I had had time, I would have gone to see him. But I didn't have time.
  • If we had bought that house, we would have had to rebuild the kitchen.
  • If we had caught the earlier train, we would have got there on time but we were late.




Notice that the main clause can contain 'would', 'could' or 'might.



  • If I had seen him at the meeting, I would have asked him. (But he wasn't there so I didn't.)
  • If I had seen him at the meeting, I could have asked him. ( But he wasn't there so it wasn't possible.)
  • If I had seen him at the meeting, I might have asked him. (But I'm not sure. Perhaps if the opportunity had arisen.)
  • If I had paid more attention in class, I would have understood the lesson.




Also notice that sometimes the 'if clause' is implied rather than spoken.



  • I'd have done it. ("if you had asked me but you didn't.")
  • I wouldn't have said that. ("if I'd been there.")
  • He wouldn't have let him get away with that. ("if he had tried that with me.")


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