Second Conditional

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What is the second conditional?

  • We use the second conditional to talk about impossible or unlikely situations.

  • If I had millions of dollars, I would buy a mansion. It’s highly unlikely that a normal person would ever have millions of dollars, so we use second conditional to talk about what we WOULD do with that money if we did have it.

How do we use the second conditional?

  • We can construct a second conditional sentence by using the following structure:

    • “If” + subject + simple past + subject + “would” + infinitive verb

    • If they were younger, they would know how to use computers.

    • If we lived in New York City, we would go to the Empire State Building every day.

    • If she had Brad Pitt’s number, she would call him.

  • When we are using the verb ‘to be’ in the first person (I) or the third person singular (he/she/it), we use the subjunctive form ‘were’ and not ‘was.’

    • If I were a boy, I would treat every woman with respect.

    • If she were famous, she wouldn’t go outside without sunglasses.

One more thing…

  • We can also use the second conditional to give advice.

    • If I were you, I would move into another apartment.

    • If I were you, I would finish my college degree.

Activity

I. Fill in the blanks using the second conditional

  • If she _________ (have) a plane, she ___________(fly) all over the world.

  • If we __________(to be) rich, we ___________ (donate) all our money to charity.

  • If I __________ (to be) the president, I__________(make) it illegal to smoke in parks.

II. Write your answer using the second conditional.

  • If you won the lottery, what would you do?

  • If you spoke ten different language fluently, what would you do?

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