Jan 28, 2019
Second conditional English grammar can help you to create more complex expressions. Improve your fluency and sophistication in English!
How do you form the second conditional tense in English?
Did you know there are three uses for it?
The second conditional requires us to construct a sentence in two parts.
The second conditional uses if then the past simple tense then ‘would’ and the infinitive:
(It is considered most correct to use ‘were’ instead of ‘was’ with ‘I’ and ‘he/she/it’. However, native speakers often say ‘was.’).
The second conditional tense has three uses.
First, we can use it to talk about things in the future that are probably not going to be true. It is unlikely but not entirely impossible. Maybe there is a 1% chance. For example, you want to talk about a dream you’re imagining.
Second, we can use it to talk about something in the present which is impossible, because it’s not true. Let’s take a look at some examples to clarify:
Third, we can use the second conditional to express our opinions – to give advice, suggestions and recommendations.
Remember that the correct formation of the second conditional uses “were.” However, also remember that many native speakers use “was” instead.
How is this different from the first conditional?
This kind of conditional sentence is different from the first conditional because this is a lot more unlikely.
For example (second conditional): If I had enough money, I would buy a nice house by the ocean (I’m probably not going to have this much money anytime soon, it’s just a dream, not very real for now at least)
But (first conditional): If I have enough money, I’ll buy some new shoes (It’s much more likely that I’ll have enough money to buy some shoes)