ConditionalsVerbs

Second Conditional

The second conditional is used to:


  • talk about the present or the future
  • talk about unreal situations


The second conditional consists of two clauses:

  • An IF clause
  • A second clause with WOULD, COULD, MIGHT followed by a BASE VERB (verb without TO)

Tip: The IF clause can be the first or second clause:

  • IF I had money, I WOULD/COULD/MIGHT TRAVEL.
  • I WOULD/COULD/MIGHT TRAVEL IF I had money.
  • IF we WERE wealthy, we WOULD/COULD/MIGHT BUY a new home.
  • We WOULD/COULD/MIGHT BUY a new home IF we WERE wealthy.

Tip: We use WERE and not WAS (Auxiliary verb TO BE)

  • If I, you, she, he, it, we, you, they WERE wealthy … I, you, she, he, it, we, you, they WOULD/COULD/MIGHT BUY a new home.
  • We use WERE because we use the subjunctive mood.

But: We use HAD (Auxiliary verb TO HAVE)

  • IF I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they had money, I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they WOULD/COULD/MIGHT TRAVEL.

And: Modal auxiliaries never change form (would, could, might, etc…)


Non Auxiliary verbs:

  • We use the past to form the second conditional: If he won, If they saw, If we went, If you stopped
    • If we left tonight, we would get there earlier.
    • If she wanted to go, she would.
    • If they bought a new house, they would be in debt.

Recap: The second conditional is used to talk about things that are untrue or impossible in the present or future:

  • If they had ten children, they would live in a bigger home. They do not have ten children.
  • If he had a bigger yard, he would adopt a dog. He does not have a bigger yard.
  • If they were here, we could eat dinner. They are not here.
  • If it were sunny, we could ride our bike. It is not sunny.
  • If you took the dog to the park, it might play with other dogs. You are not taking the dog to the park.

Try the second conditional quiz!

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