Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 2 – Episode 39 – Grammar – Second Conditional

I’ve already covered the zero and first conditionals, so it’s now time to get into the sexy second conditional.

  • If I went, I’d meet some famous actors. (I normally put if I had went, I would’ve met some famous actors).
  • If I were you, I’d do it.
  • I would earn a hundred pounds if I worked all weekend.

We use the second conditional to talk about imaginary or improbable situations and their consequences.

The imaginary or improbable sentences are in the present or future, NOT in the past.

If I found money in the street (imaginary present situation), I would give it to the police (the consequence of this situation). 

We use if I were you, I’d…… to give advice and recommendations.

If I were you, I’d study more.

  1. We can use were instead of was with if.

– If I were/was a millionaire, I would give money to that charity.

The past simple comes in the part of the sentence with if.

The part of the sentence with if can go at the start of the sentence or at the end.  There is no difference in the meaning.  However, if the part with if goes at the start of the sentence we must use a comma before the second half of the sentence.

If I had a TV, I’d watch it all day. 

I’d watch TV all day if I had one.

Exercise

Look at the situations and write sentences using the second conditional.

  1. I don’t work because I’m still at school. If I wasn’t still at school, I’d work.
  2. He isn’t a policeman because he can’t drive very well.
  3. He doesn’t repair air conditioners because he doesn’t know how to.
  4. I’m not a track and field runner because I’m not fast enough.
  5. I don’t work as an interpreter because I only speak two languages.

Podcast

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