If I had studied a bit harder, I would be more confident about mixed conditionals!
We are very grateful to our students and social media followers for all interactions, especially suggestions for blog topics. This post is in response to a question from one of our Instagram followers: mixed conditionals. In English there are two typesof mixed conditionals:
- Present result of a past condition
We use this mixed conditional when we refer to a hypothetical (unreal) past situation and its probable result in the present.
If + past perfect (condition clause) + present conditional (main clause)
- If I had caught the earlier train, I would be at home by now
- If she had married David, she would probably be travelling a lot more
- If she hadn’t lost her ticket, she would be at the concert now
Note: these examples can be swapped around without any change in meaning:
- I would be at home by now if I had caught the earlier train
- Past result of present condition
This mixed conditional is used to explain a hypothetical (unreal) present situation and its most likely past result.
If + simple past (condition clause) + perfect conditional (main clause)
- If they were interested in birdwatching, this holiday home would be perfect for them
- If she could ride, her dad would have bought her a horse
- If I had more money, I could have helped you out
As with the examples in the first section, these phrases can be switched around without any change in meaning:
- I could have helped you out if I had more money
Also note: if you are able to use these mixed conditionals it is a sign of high-level English use – congratulations! But remember: they are not as common as the more straightforward first-, second- and third conditionals.