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ESL forum > Ask for help > What īs the difference?    

What īs the difference?


What īs the difference?
Hi colleagues!
could you please help me explain to my pupils the difference between conditional type  two (if plus simple past = would plus infinitive ) and type three (if plus past perfect = would have plus past participle).
Example: If I had enough money I would buy a nice car.
If I had had enough money I would have bought a nice car.
What does each sentence express?
Thanks a lot for your help.

3 Apr 2013      


Conditional two expresses an imaginary situation in the present or the future. (Something which could still happen)

E.g. I don īt have enough money now, but if I had money I would go and buy a car. (I donīt have the money so I wonīt buy a car; however, if I won the lottery I would buy one)

Conditional three expresses an imaginary situation in the past. (Something which will never happen because it is in the past)

E.g. I failed my exam last week. If I had studied harder, I would have passed the exam. (But I didnīt study hard, and I failed)

3 Apr 2013     


To complete Philip answer, I can say Conditional 2 is present unreal ;however , Conditional 3 is past unreal. And remember Conditional 1 is present real.

3 Apr 2013