Learning the Second Conditional with FRIENDS

If I asked for the money, I would give it back.
If they gave me the money, I would pay it back.
If they didn’t lend me the money, I would be angry.
If I didn’t pay the money back, they would be unhappy.

He would be unhappy if I didn’t lend the money.
He would be angry if I didn’t lend the money.
She wouldn’t pay it back if I lent her the money.


Second conditional

The Second Conditional is used to talk about ‘impossible’ situations.

If we were in London today, we would be able to go to the concert in Hyde Park.

If I had millions dollars, I’d give a lot to charity.

If there were no hungry people in this world, it would be a much better place.

If everyone had clean water to drink, there would be a lot less disease.

Note that after I / he/ she /it we often use the subjunctive form ‘were’ and not ‘was’. (Some people think that ‘were’ is the only ‘correct’ form but other people think ‘was’ is equally ‘correct’ .)

If she were happy in her job, she wouldn’t be looking for another one.

If I lived in Japan, I’d have sushi every day.

If they were to enter our market, we’d have big problems.

Note the form ‘If I were you’ which is often used to give advice.

If I were you, I’d look for a new place to live.

If I were you, I’d go back to school and get more qualifications.

The Second Conditional is also used to talk about ‘unlikely’ situations.

If I went to China, I’d visit the Great Wall.

If I was the President, I’d reduce taxes.

If you were in my position, you’d understand.

Note that the choice between the first and the second conditional is often a question of the speaker’s attitude rather than of facts. Compare these examples. Otto thinks these things are possible, Peter doesn’t.

Otto – If I win the lottery, I’ll buy a big house.

Peter – If I won the lottery, I’d buy a big house.

Otto – If I get promoted, I’ll throw a big party.

Peter – If I got promoted, I’d throw a big party.

Otto – If my team win the Cup, I’ll buy champagne for everybody.

Peter – If my team won the Cup, I’d buy champagne for everybody.
Source: learnrealenglish.com

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