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Engleza

Were To

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Were To

“Were to” in the Present

FORM

[If … were to + verb …, …]

USE

“Were to” can be used in the present to emphasize that the conditional form is extremely unlikely or unthinkably horrible. Notice that this special form is only used in the if-clause.

Examples:

  • If she were to be rich, she would be horribly obnoxious.
    It is very unlikely that she would be rich.
  • If I were to have no friends, who would I spend my time with?
    Having no friends is a horrible thought.
  • If Nathan were to be my boss, this job would be intolerable.
    Nathan’s being my boss is a horrible concept.

“Were to” in the Future

FORM

[If … were to + verb …, …]

USE

“Were to” can be used in the future to emphasize that the conditional form is extremely unlikely or unthinkably horrible. Notice that this special form is only used in the if-clause.

Examples:

  • If I were to lose my job next year, I would probably not find a new one quickly.
    Loosing my job would be terrible.
  • If he were to fail his driving test tomorrow, he would have to take it again.
    He is not likely to fail his driving test.
  • If Sarah were to show up late to the birthday party, it would ruin the surprise.
    Sarah will surely come on time.

“Were to” in the Past

FORM

[If … were to have + past participle …, …]

USE

“Were to” can be used in the past to emphasize that the conditional form is extremely unlikely or unthinkably horrible. Notice that this special form is only used in the if-clause.

Examples:

  • If the fire were to have destroyed the building, it would have been a tragic cultural loss.
    The thought of such a loss is too horrible to consider.
  • If the dam were to have burst, the entire town would have been destroyed.
    Such destruction is too horrible to consider.
  • If Sarah were to have failed the final test, she would have lost her scholarship.
    She is an excellent student, and it is very unlikely that she would have failed the test.
Engleza

Mixed Conditionals

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Mixed Conditionals

Those of you who have been following the Conditional Tutorial should now be familiar with present, past and future conditional verb forms. Sometimes Unreal Conditional sentences are mixed. This means that the time in the if-clause is not the same as the time in the result. Study the examples below to learn how to mix conditional verb forms like a native speaker.

Verbs in green are in the Present Unreal Conditional.

Verbs in red are in the Past Unreal Conditional.

Verbs in purple are in the Future Unreal Conditional.

Mixed Conditional Patterns

PAST
PRESENT

Examples:

  • If I had won the lottery, I would be rich.
    But I didn’t win the lottery in the past and I am not rich now.
  • If I had taken French in high school, I would have more job opportunities.
    But I didn’t take French in high school and I don’t have many job opportunities.
  • If she had been born in the United States, she wouldn’t need a visa to work here.
    But she wasn’t born in the United States and she does need a visa now to work here.
PAST
FUTURE

Examples:

  • If she had signed up for the ski trip last week, she would be joining us tomorrow.
    But she didn’t sign up for the ski trip last week and she isn’t going to join us tomorrow.
  • If Mark had gotten the job instead of Joe, he would be moving to Shanghai.
    But Mark didn’t get the job and Mark is not going to move to Shanghai.
  • If Darren hadn’t wasted his Christmas bonus gambling in Las Vegas, he would go to Mexico with us next month.
    But Darren wasted his Christmas bonus gambling in Las Vegas and he won’t go to Mexico with us next month.
PRESENT
PAST

Examples:

  • If I were rich, I would have bought that Ferrari we saw yesterday.
    But I am not currently rich and that is why I didn’t buy the Ferrari yesterday.
  • If Sam spoke Russian, he would have translated the letter for you.
    But Sam doesn’t speak Russian and that is why he didn’t translate the letter.
  • If I didn’t have to work so much, I would have gone to the party last night.
    But I have to work a lot and that is why I didn’t go to the party last night.
PRESENT
FUTURE

Examples:

  • If I didn’t have so much vacation time, I wouldn’t go with you on the cruise to Alaska next week.
    But I do have a lot of vacation time and I will go on the trip next week.
  • If Cindy were more creative, the company would send her to New York to work on the new advertising campaign.
    But Cindy is not creative and the company won’t send her to New York to work on the new campaign.
  • If Dan weren’t so nice, he wouldn’t be tutoring you in math tonight.
    But Dan is nice and he is going to tutor you tonight.
FUTURE
PAST

Examples:

  • If I weren’t going on my business trip next week, I would have accepted that new assignment at work.
    But I am going to go on a business trip next week, and that is why I didn’t accept that new assignment at work.
  • If my parents weren’t coming this weekend, I would have planned a nice trip just for the two of us to Napa Valley.
    But my parents are going to come this weekend, and that is why I didn’t plan a trip for the two of us to Napa Valley.
  • If Donna weren’t making us a big dinner tonight, I would have suggested that we go to that nice Italian restaurant.
    But she is going to make us a big dinner tonight, and that is why I didn’t suggest that we go to that nice Italian restaurant.
FUTURE
PRESENT

Examples:

  • If I were going to that concert tonight, I would be very excited.
    But I am not going to go to that concert tonight and that is why I am not excited.
  • If Sandy were giving a speech tomorrow, she would be very nervous.
    But Sandy is not going to give a speech tomorrow and that is why she in not nervous.
  • If Seb didn’t come with us to the desert, everyone would be very disappointed.
    But Seb will come with us to the desert and that is why everyone is so happy.
Engleza

Continuous Conditionals

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Continuous Conditionals

Those of you who have studied Verb Tense Tutorial should be familiar with continuous verb tenses such as Present Continuous, Past Continuous, Future Continuous, Present Perfect Continuous, Past Perfect Continuous, and Future Perfect Continuous. The Verb Tense Tutorial gives you all the information you need to create continuous Real Conditional sentences. But many English learners are not aware of the fact that we can use continuousness in imaginary situations as well. Study the examples below to learn how to create continuous Unreal Conditional sentences that will make you sound like a native speaker.

Present Unreal Conditional + Continuous

FORM

If-clause: [were + present participle]

Result: [would be + present participle]

USE

Present Unreal Conditional + Continuous is used to discuss imaginary situations which could be happening at this very moment.

Examples in the if-clause:

  • If the sun were shining, I would go to the beach.
    Unfortunately, it is raining so I can’t go.
  • If Sam were sitting here, we would be able to ask him the question ourselves.
    But Sam is not sitting here. He is somewhere else.
  • We would be able to go sailing if the wind were blowing.
    But there is no wind, so we can’t go sailing.

Examples in the result:

  • If I were in Hawaii, I would be lying on the beach.
    But I am not in Hawaii.
  • If my grandfather were here, he would be talking about the war.
    But he is not here.
  • I would be rafting down the Colorado River right now if my leg weren’t broken.
    But my leg is broken, so I am not there.

Past Unreal Conditional + Continuous

FORM

If-clause: [had been + present participle]

Result: [would have been + present participle]

USE

Past Unreal Conditional + Continuous is used to discuss imaginary situations happening at a very specific time in the past or over a period of time in the past.

Examples in the if-clause:

  • If I had been talking to him when he said that, I would have punched him in the face.
    But I wasn’t talking to him when he said that.
  • If he had been standing near the house when the wall collapsed, it would have killed him.
    Luckily, he moved away before the wall fell.

Examples in the result:

  • If you had gone to his house last night, he would have been sitting on his couch in front of the TV.
    But you didn’t go to his house, so you didn’t see what he was doing.
  • If she had missed her train, he would have been waiting for her at the station for hours.
    Luckily, she caught her train and he didn’t have to wait.

NOTICE that the Past Unreal Conditional + Continuous can be used like the Past Continuous in imaginary situations to emphasize interruptions or parallel actions in the past.

Examples in the if-clause:

  • If James had been crossing the street when the car ran the red light, it would have hit him.
  • If Tom had been studying while Becky was making dinner, he would have finished his homework early and they could have gone to the movie.

Examples in the result:

  • If James hadn’t stopped to tie his shoe, he would have been crossing the street when the car ran the red light.
  • If you had gone to their house last night, Bob would have been reading the newspaper, Nancy would have been talking on the phone and the kids would have been watching TV. They always do the same things.

NOTICE that Past Unreal Conditional + Continuous can also be used like Present Perfect Continuous or Past Perfect Continuous in imaginary situations to emphasize a duration of time.

Examples in the if-clause:

  • Scott said he had been studying Greek for more than five years. If he had been studying the language that long, I think he would have been able to interpret for us at the airport.
  • Sarah claimed she had been waiting in the rain for more than twenty minutes by the time we arrived, but she wasn’t even wet. If she had been waiting that long, I think she would have been totally drenched by the time we arrived.

Examples in the result:

  • Terry’s plane arrived ahead of schedule. If I hadn’t decided to go to the airport early, she would have been waiting there for more than twenty minutes before I arrived.
  • At the travel agency yesterday, I waited for more than an hour for somebody to help me. Finally, I got up and left. If I hadn’t decided to leave, I would have been sitting there forever.

Future Unreal Conditional + Continuous

FORM

If-clause: [were + present participle]

Result: [would be + present participle]

USE

Future Unreal Conditional + Continuous can be used like the Future Continuous in imaginary situations to emphasize interruptions or parallel actions in the future.

NOTICE The future form looks the same as the present form. The future is indicated with words such as “tomorrow,” “next week” or “in a couple of days.”

Examples in the if-clause:

  • If I were waiting there next week when he gets off the plane, he would be totally surprised.
    But I will not be waiting there, so he won’t be surprised.
  • If he were staying in that hotel next week while the conference is being held, he might be able to meet some of the key speakers and tell them about our new product.
    I don’t think he will be able to stay at the hotel, so he won’t be able to meet anybody there.

Examples in the result:

  • If I were able to go to the train station tonight to meet Sandra, I would be standing on the platform waiting for her when she arrives.
    I won’t be able to go to the train station, so I will not be standing there when she arrives.
  • If you went over to Paul’s house after work, he would probably be sitting there at his computer surfing the Internet.
    But you won’t go over.