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PERFECT CONDITIONAL, CONTINUOUS

1. Perfect conditional, continuous – Form
This tense is composed of two elements: the perfect condtional of the verb ‘to be’ (would have been) + the present participle (base+ing).

Subject would have been base+ing
I
We
would have been
would have been
sitting
swimming
Affirmative    
I would have been studying.
Negative    
You wouldn’t have been living.
Interrogative    
Would we have been travelling?
Interrogative negative
Wouldn’t it have been working?

Examples: to work, Past continuous conditional

Affirmative Negative
I would have been working I wouldn’t have been working
You would have been working You wouldn’t have been working.
He would have been working She wouldn’t have been working
We would have been working We wouldn’t have been working
You would have been working You wouldn’t have been working
They would have been working They wouldn’t have been working
Interrogative Interrogative negative
Would I have been working? Wouldn’t I have been working?
Would you have been working? Wouldn’t you have been working?
Would he have been working? Wouldn’t she have been working?
Would we have been working? Wouldn’t we have been working?
Would you have been working? Wouldn’t you have been working?
Would they have been working? Wouldn’t they have been working?

2. Function
This tense can be used in Type 3 conditional sentences. It refers to the unfulfilled result of the action in the if-clause, and expresses this result as an unfinished or continuous action. Again, there is always an unspoken “but..” phrase:

  • If the weather had been better (but it wasn’t), I’d have been sitting in the garden when he arrived (but I wasn’t and so I didn’t see him).
  • If she hadn’t got a job in London (but she did), she would have been working in Paris (but she wasn’t).

Examples:

  • If I’d had a ball I would have been playing football.
  • If I’d had any money I’d have been drinking with my friends in the pub that night.
  • If I had known it was dangerous I wouldn’t have been climbing that cliff.
  • She wouldn’t have been wearing a seat-belt if her father hadn’t told her to.
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June 13, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Tenses | Leave a comment

TYPE 2 CONDITIONAL SENTENCES

1. Form

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’ CLAUSE MAIN CLAUSE
If + simple past
If it rained
If you went to bed earlier
Present conditional
you would get wet
you wouldn’t be so tired.

Present conditional, form

The present conditional of any verb is composed of two parts – the modal auxiliary would + the infinitive of the main verb (without ‘to’.)

Subject would infinitive without to
She would learn
Affirmative    
I would go
Negative    
I wouldn’t ask
Interrogative    
Would she come?
Interrogative negative    
Wouldn’t they accept?

 

Would: Contractions of would

In spoken English, would is contracted to ‘d.

I’d We’d
you’d you’d
he’d, she’d they’d

The negative contraction = wouldn’t.

Example: to accept, Present conditional

Affirmative Negative Interrogative
I would accept I wouldn’t accept Would I accept?
You would accept You wouldn’t accept Would you accept?
He would accept She wouldn’t accept Would he accept?
We would accept We wouldn’t accept Would we accept?
You would accept You wouldn’t accept Would you accept?
They would accept They wouldn’t accept Would they accept?

2. Function

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 (…but it is bad, so we can’t go)
  • If I was the Queen of England, I would give everyone £100. (...but I’m 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)

Examples:

a. If I was a plant, I would love the rain.
b. If you really loved me, you would buy me a diamond ring.
c. If I knew where she lived, I would go and see her.
d. You wouldn’t need to read this if you understood English grammar.
e. Would he go to the concert if I gave him a ticket?
f. They wouldn’t invite her if they didn’t like her
g. We would be able to buy a larger house if we had more money

NOTE: It is correct, and very common, to say “If I were” instead of “If I was“.

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Tenses | Leave a comment

‘IF’ SENTENCES AND THE ‘UNREAL’ PAST

In this section you will find information on sentences containing the word ‘if’, the use of conditional tenses, and the ‘unreal past’, that is, when we use a past tense but we are not actually referring to past time.

IF AND THE CONDITIONAL

There are four main types of ‘if’ sentences in English:

1. The ‘zero’ conditional, where the tense in both parts of the sentence is the simple present:

‘IF’ CLAUSE MAIN CLAUSE
If + simple present
If you heat ice
If it rains
simple present
it melts.
you get wet

In these sentences, the time is now or always and the situation is real and possible. They are often used to refer to general truths.

2. The Type 1 conditional, where the tense in the ‘if clause is the simple present, and the tense in the main clause is the simple future

‘IF’ CLAUSE MAIN CLAUSE
If + simple present
If it rains
If you don’t hurry
Simple future
you will get wet
we will miss the train.

In these sentences, the time is the present or future and the situation is real. They refer to a possible condition and its probable result.

3. The Type 2 conditional, where the tense in the ‘if’ clause is the simple past, and the tense in the main clause is the present conditional:

‘IF’ CLAUSE MAIN CLAUSE
If + simple past
If it rained
If you went to bed earlier
Present conditional
you would get wet
you wouldn’t be so tired.

 

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.

4. The Type 3 conditional, where 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, and they refer to an unreal past condition and its probable past result.

A further type if ‘if’ sentence exists, where Type 2 and Type 3 are mixed. The tense in the ‘if’ clause is the past perfect, and the tense in the main clause is the present conditional:

‘IF’ CLAUSE MAIN CLAUSE
If + past perfect
If I had worked harder at school
If we had looked at the map
Present conditional
I would have a better job now.
we wouldn’t be lost.

In these sentences, the time is past in the ‘if’ clause, and present in the main clause. They refer to an unreal past condition and its probable result in the present.

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Tenses | Leave a comment

Unless

Unless means the same as if…not. Like if, it is followed by a present tense, a past tense or a past perfect (never by ‘would’). It is used instead of if + not in conditional sentences of all types:

Type 1: (Unless + present)
a. You’ll be sick unless you stop eating. (= You will be sick if you don’t stop eating)

b. I won’t pay unless you provide the goods immediately. (= If you don’t provide them I won’t pay)

c. You’ll never understand English unless you study this grammar carefully. (= You’ll never understand if you don’t study…)

Type 2: (Unless + past)
a. Unless he was very ill, he would be at work.

b. I wouldn’t eat that food unless I was really hungry.

c. She would be here by now unless she was stuck in the traffic.

Type 3: (Unless + past perfect)
a. The elephant wouldn’t have seen the mouse unless she’d had perfect eyesight.

b. I wouldn’t have phoned him unless you’d suggested it.

c. They would have shot her unless she’d given them the money.

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Tenses | Leave a comment

MIXED CONDITIONAL SENTENCES

It is possible for the two parts of a conditional sentence to refer to different times, and the resulting sentence is a “mixed conditional” sentence. There are two types of mixed conditional sentence:

A. Present result of past condition:

1. Form
The tense in the ‘if’ clause is the past perfect, and the tense in the main clause is the present conditional:

‘IF’ CLAUSE MAIN CLAUSE
If + past perfect
If I had worked harder at school
If we had looked at the map
Present conditional
I would have a better job now.
we wouldn’t be lost.

2. Function
In these sentences, the time is past in the ‘if’ clause, and present in the main clause. They refer to an unreal past condition and its probable result in the present. They express a situation which is contrary to reality both in the past and in the present:
If I had worked harder at school’ is contrary to past fact – I didn’t work hard at school, and ‘I would have a better job now’ is contrary to present fact – I haven’t got a good job.
If we had looked at the map (we didn’t), we wouldn’t be lost (we are lost).

Examples:

  • I would be a millionaire now if I had taken that job.
  • If you’d caught that plane you’d be dead now.
  • If you hadn’t spent all your money on CDs, you wouldn’t be broke.

B. Past result of present or continuing condition.

1. Form
The tense in the If-clause is the simple past, and the tense in the main clause is the perfect conditional:

‘IF’ CLAUSE MAIN CLAUSE
If + simple past
If I wasn’t afraid of spiders
If we didn’t trust him
Perfect conditional
I would have picked it up.
we would have sacked him months ago.

2. Function
In these sentences the time in the If-clause is now or always, and the time in the main clause is before now. They refer to an unreal present situation and its probable (but unreal) past result:

  • ‘If I wasn’t afraid of spiders’ is contrary to present reality – I am afraid of spiders, and ‘I would have picked it up’ is contrary to past reality – I didn’t pick it up.
  • ‘If we didn’t trust him’ is contrary to present reality – we do trust him, and ‘we would have sacked him’ is contrary to past reality – we haven’t sacked him.

Examples:

a. If she wasn’t afraid of flying she wouldn’t have travelled by boat.
b. I’d have been able to translate the letter if my Italian was better.
c. If I was a good cook, I’d have invited them to lunch.
d. If the elephant wasn’t in love with the mouse, she’d have trodden on him by now.

Source : English4today

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Tenses | 2 Comments

TYPE 3 CONDITIONAL SENTENCES

1. Form
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.

Perfect conditional – form
The perfect conditional of any verb is composed of two elements: would + the perfect infinitive of the main verb (=have + past participle):

Subject would perfect infinitive
He
They
would
would
have gone…
have stayed…
Affirmative    
I would have believed …
Negative    
She wouldn’t have given…
Interrogative    
Would you have left…?
Interrogative negative    
Wouldn’t he have been…?

Example: to go, Past conditional

Affirmative Negative Interrogative
I would have gone I wouldn’t have gone Would I have gone?
You would have gone You wouldn’t have gone Would you have gone?
He would have gone She wouldn’t have gone Would it have gone?
We would have gone We wouldn’t have gone Would we have gone?
You would have gone You wouldn’t have gone Would you have gone?
They would have gone They wouldn’t have gone Would they have gone?

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?

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Tenses | Leave a comment

if sentences with wish,would rather,suppose,what if,if only

UNREAL PAST

The past tense is sometimes used in English to refer to an ‘unreal’ situation. So, although the tense is the past, we are usually talking about the present, e.g. in a Type 2 conditional sentence:

If an elephant and a mouse fell in love, they would have many problems.

Although fell is in the past tense, we are talking about a hypothetical situation that might exist now or at any time, but we are not referring to the past. We call this use the unreal past.

Other situations where this occurs are:

  • after other words and expressions like if (supposing, if only, what if);
  • after the verb to wish;
  • after the expression I’d rather..

Expressions likeif’

The following expressions can be used to introduce hypothetical situations:
supposing, if only, what if. They are followed by a past tense to indicate that the condition they introduce is unreal:

  • Supposing an elephant and a mouse fell in love? (= but we know this is unlikely or impossible)
  • What if we painted the room purple? (= that would be very surprising)
  • If only I had more money. (= but I haven’t).

These expressions can also introduce hypothetical situations in the past and then they are followed by the past perfect.

Examples:

  • If only I hadn’t kissed the frog (= I did and it was a mistake because he turned into a horrible prince, but I can’t change it now.)
  • What if the elephant had trodden on the mouse? (She didn’t, but we can imagine the result!)
  • Supposing I had given that man my money! (I didn’t, so I’ve still got my money now.)

The verb to wish

The verb to wish is followed by an ‘unreal’ past tense when we want to talk about situations in the present that we are not happy about but cannot change:

  • I wish I had more money (=but I haven’t)
  • She wishes she was beautiful (= but she’s not)
  • We wish we could come to your party (but we can’t)

When we want to talk about situations in the past that we are not happy about or actions that we regret, we use the verb to wish followed by the past perfect:

  • I wish I hadn’t said that (= but I did)
  • He wishes he hadn’t bought the car (= but he did buy it.)
  • I wish I had taken that job in New York (= but I didn’t, so I’m stuck in Bristol)

NOTE: When we want to talk about situations we are not happy about and where we want someone else to change them, we use to wish followed by would + infinitive:

  • I wish he would stop smoking. (= I don’t like it, I want him to change it)
  • I wish you would go away. (= I don’t want you here, I want you to take some action)
  • I wish you wouldn’t squeeze the toothpaste from the middle! (= I want you to change your habits.)

I’d rather and it’s time…

These two expressions are also followed by an unreal past. The verb is in the past tense, but the situation is in the present.

When we want to talk about a course of action we would prefer someone else to take, we use I’d rather + past tense:

  • I’d rather you went
  • He’d rather you called the police
  • I’d rather you didn’t hunt elephants.

NOTE: the stress can be important in these sentences, to show what our preference is:

  • I’d rather you went = not me,
  • I’d rather you went = don’t stay
  • He’d rather you called the police = he doesn’t want to
  • He’d rather you called the police = not the ambulance service

Similarly, when we want to say that now is a suitable moment to do something, either for ourselves or for someone else, we use it’s time + past tense:

  • It’s (high) time I went.
  • It’s time you paid that bill.
  • Don’t you think it’s time you had a haircut?

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Tenses | 3 Comments

PRESENT CONTINUOUS CONDITIONAL

In type 2 conditional sentences, the continuous form of the present conditional may be used:

If I were a millionaire, I wouldn’t be doing this job!

1. Present continuous conditional – form.
This form is composed of two elements: the present conditional of the verb ‘to be’ (would be) + the present participle of the main verb (base+ing).

Subject would be base+ing
He
They
would be
would be
going
living
Affirmative
We would be coming
Negative
You wouldn’t be working
Interrogative
Would you be sharing?
Interrogative negative
Wouldn’t they be playing?

Example: to live, Present continuous conditional.

Affirmative Negative Interrogative
I would be living I wouldn’t be living Would I be living?
You would be living You wouldn’t be living Would you be living?
He would be living She wouldn’t be living Would he be living?
We would be living We wouldn’t be living Would we be living?
You would be living You wouldn’t be living Would you be living?
They would be living They wouldn’t be living Would they be living?

2. Present continuous conditional – function
This form is common in Type 2 conditional sentences. It expresses an unfinished or continuing action or situation, which is the probable result of an unreal condition:

  • I would be working in Italy if I spoke Italian.
    (but I don’t speak Italian, so I am not working in Italy.
  • She would be living with Jack if she wasn’t living with her parents.
    (but she is living with her parents so she’s not living with Jack).

More examples:

  • I wouldn’t be eating this if I wasn’t extremely hungry.
  • If I had an exam tomorrow, I’d be revising now.
  • You wouldn’t be smiling if you knew the truth.

NOTE: This form is also found in: mixed conditional sentences (See section on Mixed Conditional Sentences); in indirect speech:

She said “I’ll be working in the garden.” She said she would be working in the garden. (See section on Indirect Speech)

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Tenses | Leave a comment

TYPE 1 CONDITIONAL

1. Form
In a Type 1 conditional sentence, the tense in the ‘if clause is the simple present, and the tense in the main clause is the simple future

‘IF’ CLAUSE (CONDITION) MAIN CLAUSE (RESULT)
If + simple present
If it rains
If you don’t hurry
Simple future
you will get wet
we will miss the train.

2. Function
In these sentences, the time is the present or future and the situation is real. They refer to a possible condition and its probable result. They are based on facts, and they are used to make statements about the real world, and about particular situations. We often use such sentences to give warnings:

  • If you don’t leave, I’ll call the police.
  • If you don’t drop the gun, I’ll shoot!

Examples:

  • If you drop that glass, it will break.
  • Nobody will notice if you make a mistake.
  • If I have time, I’ll finish that letter.
  • What will you do if you miss the plane?

NOTE: We can use modals to express the degree of certainty of the result:

  • If you drop that glass, it might break.
  • I may finish that letter if I have time.

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Tenses | Leave a comment

THE ‘ZERO’ CONDITIONAL

1. Form

In ‘zero’ conditional sentences, the tense in both parts of the sentence is the simple present:

‘IF’ CLAUSE (CONDITION) MAIN CLAUSE (RESULT)
If + simple present
If you heat ice
If it rains
simple present
it melts.
you get wet

NOTE: The order of the clauses is not fixed – the ‘if’ clause can be first or second:

  • Ice melts if you heat it.
  • You get wet if it rains.

2. Function

In these sentences, the time is now or always and the situation is real and possible. They are used to make statements about the real world, and often refer to general truths, such as scientific facts.

Examples:

a. If you freeze water, it becomes a solid.
b. Plants die if they don’t get enough water.
c. If my husband has a cold, I usually catch it.
d. If public transport is efficient, people stop using their cars.
e. If you mix red and blue, you get purple.

This structure is often used to give instructions, using the imperative in the main clause:

  • If Bill phones, tell him to meet me at the cinema.
  • Ask Pete if you’re not sure what to do.

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Tenses | Leave a comment