English Conditional Sentences, If Clause Type 2, Conditional Type 2
TYPE 2: UNTRUE IN THE PRESENT OR FUTURE
If Clause Type 2 is used to think of the opposite of an event that is happening in the present or in the future, to put forward a condition and to express the result of this imaginary condition. Therefore, the tense that we can use must be a bit more past than the tense that we will use to express the truth. So, that is like to use; would instead of will, did instead of do, could instead of can. It is often used to express wishes and desires for the past.
- I have to work tomorrow, so I can’t come to the amusement park. (Future)
- If I were you, I would want to be a doctor. ( but I am not you)
- If I understood what the teacher said, I could tell you. ( but I don’t understand )
- If she weren’t ill, she would go to the school. ( but she is ill )
- If I were a chairman, I would offer new and different ideas. ( but I am not chairman)
- If you participated in the election, people would choose you. ( but you don’t participate )
- If I didn’t have to work, I would come to the amusement park with you. (Although past tense is used, meaning is future time.)
Structures that we can use in the basic sentence;
1-Would and would be doing
- If I were rich, I would travel around the world with you.
2-Would be able to, could, might and would have to
- If I knew some Spanish, I could help you with your Spanish assignment now.
- If tomorrow weren’t a holiday, we couldn’t/wouldn’t be able to go to the cinema together.
Structures that can be used in conditional sentence;
1- Past form of “be” (was/were)
The verb “be” is in the form of “were” for all subjects. For the subjects; I, he, she, it, the “was“ format can also be used.
- If it were wet now, we couldn’t go out for a walk. (meaning;present)
- If they were out of town next week, your parent would/ could visit them. (meaning;future)
2- Past Tense
When meaning is present or future, past tense is used.
- If my mother knew that I’d come back from holiday, she would come to see me tonight. (meaning;present)
- If you came to my party tomorrow, I would be very happy. (meaning;future)
3-Past Continuous Tense (was/were doing)
We can use was / were doing if we are constructing a conditional statement considering the reverse of an ongoing action.
- If the baby weren’t sleeping now, I would go out with you.
4-Could and had to
- If I didn’t have to stay home to look after the children, I would come to the theatre.
In Type 2, using ‘should’ emphasizes that the probability is less.