# 1. What are hypotheticals?

Hypotheticals are imagined situations – they are based on the idea ‘what if x happened?’

Hypotheticals generally are made with two parts:
if clause + result clause

English has four conditionals. The 2nd and 3rd conditional describe imagined situations.

# 2. The 2nd Conditional

The 2nd conditional means ‘if x happened, what would be the result?’

The 2nd conditional is made by:
if (past tense/past continuous/could) + would (present)

The hypothetical ‘if’ clause can be placed before or after the result.

# 3. The 3rd conditional

The 3rd conditional is for ‘if an event in the past had been different, how would life be different’.

The 3rd conditional is made by:
if (past perfect) + would (present/present perfect)
= if (had done) + would (be/have done)

*if talking about how life would be different now, use ‘would (present)’. This is usually ‘would be’.
*if talking about how life would have been different in the past, use ‘would (present perfect)

Again, the hypothetical clause can be before or after the result.

# 4. Hypothetically speaking

‘Hypothetically speaking’ is sometimes said when describing an imaginary problem to which you are looking for an answer.
It makes it clearer to the listener or reader that this is not a real situation.

The term ‘speaking hypothetically’ can also be used.

# 5. Exercises

1. What would you do if:
a) you found a gun?
b) you were God?