Type 3 Conditional

Type 3 conditional sentences, are truly hypothetical or unreal. In these sentences, the time is past, and the situation is contrary to reality. The facts they are based on are the opposite of what is expressed.

1. Form

In a Type 3 conditional sentence, the tense in the ‘if’ clause is the past perfect, and the tense in the main clause is the perfect conditional:

If it had rainedyou would have got wet

‘IF’ CLAUSEMAIN CLAUSE
If + past perfect
Perfect conditional
If you had worked harderyou would have passed the exam.

Perfect conditional – form

The perfect conditional of any verb is composed of two elements: would + the perfect infinitive of the main verb (=have + past participle):

Subjectwouldperfect infinitive
He
They
would
would
have gone…
have stayed…
Affirmative
Iwouldhave believed …
Negative
Shewouldn’thave given…
Interrogative
Wouldyouhave left…?
Interrogative negative
Wouldn’thehave been…?

Example: to goPast conditional

AffirmativeNegativeInterrogative
I would have goneI wouldn’t have goneWould I have gone?
You would have goneYou wouldn’t have goneWould you have gone?
He would have goneShe wouldn’t have goneWould it have gone?
We would have goneWe wouldn’t have goneWould we have gone?
You would have goneYou wouldn’t have goneWould you have gone?
They would have goneThey wouldn’t have goneWould they have gone?

In these sentences, the time is past, and the situation is contrary to reality. The facts they are based on are the opposite of what is expressed.

Type 3 conditional sentences, are truly hypothetical or unreal, because it is now too late for the condition or its result to exist. There is always an unspoken “but…” phrase:

  • If I had worked harder I would have passed the exam
    (
    but I didn’t work hard, and I didn’t pass the exam).

  • If I’d known you were coming I’d have baked a cake
    (
    but I didn’t know, and I haven’t baked a cake).

NOTE: Both would and had can be contracted to ‘d, which can be confusing. Remember that you NEVER use would in the IF-clause, so in the example above, “If I’d known” must be If Ihad known“, and I’d have baked” must be I would have baked..”

Examples:

  1. If I’d known you were in hospital, I would have visited you

  2. I would have bought you a present if I’d known it was your birthday.

  3.  If they’d had a better goalkeeper they wouldn’t have lost the game.

  4. If you had told me you were on the Internet, I’d have sent you an e-mail.

  5. Would you have bought an elephant if you’d known how much they eat?

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