Hey there! This is TOP episode 48: Mixed Conditionals 2+3.

My name’s Ola and I am an English teacher. My goal is to help you start speaking English with confidence and get rid of speaking barriers. It’s time you started speaking English fearlessly! Go to my website for full transcripts and worksheets to each episode. Happy learning! 

Hello, welcome to today’s episode. Thank you for tuning in! Conditionals, right? Please please make sure you’ve listened to other episodes on this podcast on conditionals. There are all conditional sentence types covered, please find the links in the show notes at teacherola.com/48. You need to embrace other conditionals, use them confidently so that now when we mix it all up you don’t get puzzled. 

You can get confused with standard conditional sentences, but mixing them? Can it get harder than this? Well, I know how irritating and intimidating it can be. I remember I used to think it’s virtually impossible to understand conditionals and on the top of that, it’s impossible to use them confidently. You know, without like thinking about the grammatical structure. Confidently. 

The good news is that I was clearly wrong, it is possible and you can do it. You can make long, complex conditional sentences without focusing on grammar. 

You have to learn it first, so let’s do this! You can mix all conditionals: 

1+3, 2+3, 3+2 and 2+1. I’ve decided to divide this topic and discuss each case in a separate episode. We’re going to look into 3 types of mixed conditionals since they’re most common. The first I’ve mentioned was type 1 plus type 3 but it’s so rare, we’ll just skip it. So today we’re going to talk about type 2 and type 3. This one is really common, you should know it in my opinion and in the future you can expect me to prepare an episode on type 3 + type 2 and type 2 plus type 1.

Ok, down to business, how to mix the second conditional with the third conditional and why?

Ok, so first let’s start with why. Right. So as always we have a condition clause and a result clause. Sometimes you want to talk about a present condition which has a past result. I know, I know, just stay with me! Listen again. So, we have an unreal present situation, it’s a condition. For example: If I weren’t afraid of the darkness. This is unreal present situation. I am afraid of the darkness.  But: If I weren’t afraid of the darkness. Unreal present situation.  

Now I want to finish this sentence and talk about the result. I want to explain why I did something. So I did it because I am afraid of the darkness. I didn’t turn the lights out. I couldn’t do it since I’m scared of the darkness. Right?

So, let’s put these two clauses together. We have a condition and we have a result. The result is in the past and the condition is still true, still present. Listen to the whole sentence.

If I weren’t afraid of the darkness, I would have turned the lights out. 

If I weren’t afraid of the darkness – this conditional clause comes from the second conditional. It’s also called the real conditional. But in the second conditional the result clause is also about the present or future. For example: 

If I weren’t afraid of the darkness, I would turn the lights out.

I can’t turn them out because I’m scared. But what that’s future, right? So what if you don’t want to speak about your possible future or present actions: I would turn the lights out? What if you want to explain why you did something in the past? This is why you have to embrace this mix. In order to explain your past actions with the present condition. 

Generally, we speak about what would have happened in the past if something was true now. Let’s practice now. Listen and repeat:

If I weren’t afraid of the darkness, I would have turned the lights out.

If I were you, I would have helped him then. 

If I were the boss, I wouldn’t have employed him.

Well done. There are some more examples for you coming in a second, I just wanted to check up on you if everything is clear now. I hope it is.  So we can, as always in conditional sentences, change the order. Just keep in mind the conditional clause must be past simple. The conditional clause is the if-clause. If I were, If you were, If she were, If she was, If he did, If she had. Ok. Let’s see some more examples. Please repeat, shall we?

If she could swim, she would have taken the boat trip with her friends. 

If she could swim, she would have taken the boat trip with her friends. 

What do we know, we know that she didn’t take a boat trip with her friends because she can’t swim. So, she was scared or something she just can’t swim. Still, she still can’t swim and that’s why she didn’t take the boat trip with her friends. Listen again:

If she could swim (now), she would have taken the boat trip with her friends. 

I would have invited you to my place If I was a good cook.

I would have translated that if my Spanish was better.

If I had more money, I would have bought a better tent.

If he tried harder, he would have been more successful.

If you read faster, you would have finished that book in time.

If I had a car, I would have given you a lift. 

It’s a shame I don’t have a car and you had to take a bus. I didn’t give you a lift yesterday, because I still don’t have a car. So, listen again:

If I had a car, I would have given you a lift. 

Here you have it! Thank you so very much for being here with me till the end of this episode. What do you think, is this mixed conditional difficult? What do you reckon? Let me know what you think! Go to teacherola.com/48 and leave a comment!

Scroll all the way down there to the bottom of the post to download the worksheet. If you want to make sure this mixed conditional is clear for you now, you need to test yourself. Do the exercise and let me know what’s your score.

If you find this episode useful tell your friends about me. And in the next episode, we’ll be focusing on pronunciation. Subscribe to my podcast if you haven’t yet. 

Thank you for listening and till next time! Happy learning. Bye!