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## Session 1

They say you shouldn't mix your drinks, but should you mix your conditionals? Find out in this Masterclass with Dan.

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Activity 1

## Activity 1

### Mixed conditionals

You all know about the first, second and third conditionals, but do you know how to mix them? Dan has a lesson which will show you how.

Watch the video and complete the activity

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Dan
Hi guys. Dan from BBC Learning English here. In this session we'll be looking at mixed conditionals. Now, I know that clever students like yourselves will know that English has three types of conditional sentences. First conditional is to talk about real, present or future situations, second conditional is to talk about hypothetical present or future situations and third conditional is to talk about hypothetical past situations. All three types of conditional are fantastic and all three types of conditional talk about events within their own time frame – present, future and past. But what about if you want to talk about an event that happened in the past - which affects the future? Can events in the present or the future affect the past?

Come over here and let's take a look. Here is a third conditional sentence:

If I had taken programming at school, I would have got a job at Google years ago.

Here we have a past hypothetical with a past consequence. Notice the formula: 'If' plus the past perfect here, 'would' plus have plus the past participle here. Now watch what happens as we change the consequence.

If I had taken programming at school, I would be working for Google.

Now we have a past hypothetical with a present consequence. This part here is from a second conditional. Its formula is 'would' plus the bare infinitive. This kind of makes sense in that decisions or actions in the past affect the present. But can we do the future? Well, let's have a look.

If I had taken programming at school, I would be attending the Google conference next week.

Yes we can. As you can see, the only difference between the present and the future is the time expression. The formula is exactly the same: 'would' plus the infinitive. Second conditional. Did you get it? Now let's see what happens if we try to make the second – which is the present – affect the past, which is a third.

If I were smarter, I would have invented something clever when I was younger.

It can. Now we have a present theory with a past result. This can be a little difficult to understand, until we realise that 'if I were smarter' is the same as saying 'I am not smart' - which is present simple. And remember that we use present simple for long term truth. When I say 'I am not smart', I mean: I am not smart now, in the future and in the past. It's the same as saying 'I am English' - past, present and future. So, this kind of conditional works very well with personal descriptions. And here are a couple of other examples.

If he were taller, he would have become a basketball player.

If they were in love, they would have got married 10 years ago.

If I were less interesting, I wouldn't have been asked to speak in public so many times.

Did you get it? Good. Let's try one more. Present to past. But a little bit more specific this time.

If I weren't flying on holiday next week, I would have accepted that new project at work.

Here we have a present second, although it's actually future, with a past third result. This means that the person couldn't accept the project at work because they knew that they would be flying in the future. OK guys, did you get it? Mixing conditionals isn't difficult to do, as long as you both have confidence and an understanding of the verb forms. It's much easier to do a third to second than it is to do a second to third, but both are possible. And finally, don't forget the importance of time words. OK? Alright.

Now, for more information have a look at bbclearningenglish.com. I've been Dan, you've been great. Have fun guys, see you next time.

### Summary

We often hear that there are three types of conditional sentences in English: first, second and third. However, it is possible to mix the structures to express other ideas:

1. Past hypothetical situation with a present hypothetical result

• If I had taken programming at school, I'd have a job at Google now.
• If I hadn't eaten so much cake, I wouldn't feel so sick.

In this example, the 'if' clause is from a third conditional; the result clause is from a second conditional. The structure:

If + past perfect + would/could/might + present

2. Present hypothetical situation with past hypothetical result

• If I were smarter, I'd have gone to Oxford University.
• If I were taller, I'd have become a basketball player.

In this example, the 'if' clause is from a second conditional and the result clause is from a third conditional. The structure:

If + past + would/could/might + have + past participle

3. Future hypothetical situation with past hypothetical result

• If I weren't going on holiday next week, I could have attended the job interview.
• If I weren't going to the wedding, I'd have agreed to visit you.

In this example, the 'if' clause is from a second conditional and the result clause is from a third conditional. The structure:

If + past + would/could/might + have + past participle

### To do

Here's a quiz. If you'd studied harder at school, you wouldn't have to test yourself now!

4 Questions

How well can you mix your conditionals?

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y

### End of Session 1

That's it for this session. Just like drinks, you can mix your conditionals if you want to, but you have to be careful!

### Next

In News Review we discuss a major story in the news, and the language you need to understand it.

## Session Grammar

• ### 3 ways to mix conditionals:

1. Past hypothetical situation with a present hypothetical result

• If I had taken programming at school, I'd have a job at Google now.

'If' clause from a third conditional; result clause from second conditional.

If + past perfect + would/could/might + present

2. Present hypothetical situation with past hypothetical result

• If I were smarter, I'd have gone to Oxford University.

'If' clause from second conditional; result clause from third conditional.

If + past + would/could/might + have + past participle

3. Future hypothetical situation with past hypothetical result

• If I weren't going on holiday next week, I could have attended the job interview.

'If' clause from second conditional; result clause from third conditional.

If + past + would/could/might + have + past participle