I’d like to start with something to lighten up your mood:
Let’s watch this video:
So, if this guy had a nice voice, he would have had success.
What kind of sentence is that? Yay, it’s a conditional sentence. But it’s not a usual conditional. It’s special.
Does he have a nice voice now? Nope, he doesn’t. So the condition is still true. The condition is in the present, because it’s still true. That’s why we need to use if + past tense (past simple or past continuous) to talk about the condition of this mixed conditional.
When did he sing? In the past or in the present? In the past, that’s right. So if he had a good voice (which he still doesn’t have) he WOULD HAVE SUNG better, and he WOULD HAVE HAD success. So the result is in the past, that’s why we use WOULD + perfect infinitive (have + V3).
To sum it up, we use this type of mixed conditional to talk about the result in the past of a condition that is still true.
If I could fly (I still can’t) I would have flown to England last year.
If Jane had more money (she still doesn’t), she would have bought a house earlier.
Usually, mixed conditionals are a mixture of the second and third conditionals.
|If + Past tense||Would have V3|
|If I had more free time
||I would’ve bought Christmas presents for all my friends last week.|
|If he knew English better,||he would have passed his TOEFL exam.|
Let’s look at this guy. What is he doing? He’s cheating, isn’t he? Pretty smart way of cheating, too. Wish I’d thought of that when I was studying at the Uni.
If he’d studied harder, he wouldn’t need to cheat now.
This is also a mixed conditional. Let’s see why it’s mixed.
Had he studied? Nope, he hadn’t. So the condition (the studying) is in the past, right?
Well, if he’d studied, he wouldn’t need to cheat. Does he need to cheat? Yes he does. And he needs to cheat NOW, not in the past.
So we have a condition in the past (which already didn’t happen) and its possible result in the present.
That’s why this conditional is also mixed. We have the condition part taken from the third (past) conditional, and the result part taken from the 2nd (unreal present and future) conditional.
|If + Past Perfect||Would + Past Tense|
|If he’d earned more money last year,||he would have a car now.|
|If Lily and Jack had got married 3 years earlier,||they would have two kids by now.|
|If Martha hadn’t forgot to lock her apartment,||she wouldn’t need to buy a new TV set now.|
Check out this video: Over here you can find a detailed explanationof the mixed conditionals.
Check your understanding with these exercises: