Mixed Conditionals

Unlike the other unreal conditional sentences which refer to the same time: the present, the future, or the past, MIXED CONDITIONALS are those unreal conditional sentences whose time in the “if-clause” is different than the time in the “main clause”.

There are two types of mixed conditionals:

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1. Present result of past condition

This type of mixed conditional refers to an unreal past condition and its probable result in the present. It expresses a situation which is contrary to reality both in the past and present.

 

 IF CLAUSE (If + Past perfect), MAIN CLAUSE (Present conditional)

• If we had looked at the map, we wouldn’t be lost

   [In reality: We didn’t look at the map (past reality). As the result, we are lost (present reality).]

 

• If I had studied harder at school, I would had a better job now.

   [In reality: I didn’t study harder at school. As the result, I haven’t got a good job.]

 

2. Past result of present or continuing condition

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This type of mixed conditional refers to an unreal present situation and its probable (but unreal) past result. The time in If-clause is now or always and the time in main clause is before now.

 

IF CLAUSE (If + Simple past), MAIN CLAUSE (Perfect conditional)

 • If she wasn’t afraid of flying, she wouldn’t have travelled by boat.

    [In reality: She is afraid of flying (present reality) and that’s why she travelled by boat (past reality).]

 

• If I was a good cook, I’d have invited them to dinner.

   [In reality: I’m not a good cook. That’s why I didn’t invite them to dinner.]

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