The second conditional is another if sentence that is frequently used in English. These sentences have ‘if’ in them so there is a condition and a result of that condition. In this article, you have a complete overview of what the second conditional is, how you form it and there are also several exercises.
- If I won the lottery, I would have a lot of money.
- We would be sad if he left us.
Second conditional form
Before knowing which tense to use, it’s important to know that conditional sentences consist of two parts: the if-clause and the main clause. The if-clause is the clause where you would find ‘if’ and the main clause is the result of the condition (the rest of the sentence). Take a look at the examples below to see the difference:
|If he lost his phone,||he would be unavailable.|
|If I got a gift,||I would be really happy!|
When using the second conditional, you should pay special attention to the tenses of the verbs. The verb in the if-clause needs to be in the past simple. You use would + infinitive for the verb in the main clause. Take a look at the examples:
|If cats had wings,||they would fly.|
|If I was smart,||I would win a Nobel prize.|
|If he shot someone,||he would be in trouble.|
Keep in mind that the order of the clauses can be different. It’s perfectly possible that the main clause comes first:
|Cats would fly||if they had wings.|
|I would win a Nobel prize||if I was smart.|
|He would be in trouble||If he shot someone.|
- Past Tenses Overview
- The Zero Conditional
- The First Conditional
- The Third Conditional
- Conditionals: Overview