If: The 3rd Conditional

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The 3rd Conditional

for ‘alternative realities’ (= things that never happened)

These are for thinking about moments in the past when one thing happened, but imagining what it would be like if something different had happened.

How to make the 3rd conditional

(i) past perfect + would/could/might have (for changes to the past)
(ii) past perfect + would/could/might be (for changes to the present)

– examples

If I had studied harder, I would have passed
If he hadn’t come to Shanghai, he wouldn’t have met her
They might have been rich and famous if he hadn’t been so stupid

If I hadn’t called the boss a pig, I might be boss now.
If she hadn’t won the lottery, she wouldn’t be rich.
If France hadn’t have had its revolution, it would still have a royal family.


1. Complete the sentences about ‘alternative realities’ (things that never happened)
(i) if my teacher had come to my birthday party,…
(ii) if my mother hadn’t met my father, ….
(iii) I would have gone ape (crazily angry) if….