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Mixed Conditionals

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.

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