Learning English
Grammar Rules: ▼ Tenses ▼ Futures ▼ Conditionals ▼ Relative Clauses ▼ Passives ▼ Reported Speech ▼ Questions ▼ Articles ▼ Adjectives ▼ Modal Verbs ▼ Gerunds/Infinitives
Grammar Exercises
Grammar Terms
FCE practice



The Third Conditional

This is used to talk about imagined past situations and their imagined results.

For example, yesterday, I was sick because I drank some old milk. To imagine the alternative, I say ...

If I hadn't drunk that old milk, I wouldn't have been sick.

We often use this form to describe regrets or give blame:

If I'd studied harder, I'd have got an 'A'.

If you'd been on time, we wouldn't have missed the film.

Imagined Past SituationImagined Past Result
if + had(n't) + past participle would(n't) + have + past participle
If he had told the truth I'd have believed him.

Third Conditional: Advanced Points

It doesn't matter if you say the situation or the result first.
"If I'd married him, we'd have had lots of children."
"We'd have had lots of children if I'd married him."

You can use would/might/could + have to talk about the result.

If I 'd been less hungry, I wouldn't have eaten all your biscuits.
I might have eaten less.
I could have waited until dinner time.

The teacher would have done more work this morning if she hadn't started playing computer games.

Third Conditional practice

Next Lesson: Mixed Conditionals