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Extra Grammar 2

Conditional Sentences type 2

When we want to talk about unreal or improbable situations now or in the future,
we use a past tense in the if-clause (although the meaning is present or future) and
would + infinitive in the other part of the sentence. Note that we can also use other
modal verbs such as might, could and should + infinitive apart from would.


If-clause (condition)

(cause, effect or result)

we had enough money, ...

my boss knew how hard I work,
I were you, ...
you wanted, ...

we would (d) definitely buy a new house.

he might give me a pay rise.
I shouldnt worry at all.
I could lend you my car.

Notes: 1) The order of the clauses can be reversed. No comma is required in this
I could lend you my car if you wanted.

2) We can also ask questions when talking about unreal or improbable
situations in the present or past:

Where would you go if you needed to buy a picture frame?

3) We often use were instead of was after if. In a formal style, it is probably
much more common to use were than was:

If I were you, I wouldnt lie to her so often.

If my car was / were in a better condition, we could use it to go on holiday.

4) We can also use this structure to make a suggestion sound less definite
(and so more polite):

It would be nice if you helped me with the housework.

Would you mind if I had the day off tomorrow?

1 F
 ill in the blanks using an appropriate form of the verbs in brackets. Use only
would in the if-clauses.
a If we
(have) longer holidays, we
(spend) them in Malaysia.

English Toolkit 2


Photocopiable Ediciones Santillana S.A. / Richmond 2011


Extra Grammar 2

2 C
 omplete these sentences using could (= would be able to), might (= would perhaps)
or should (= it would be a good idea).
a If it wasnt raining, we
b That dish

play football in the park.

taste better if you cooked it in olive oil.

c If you knew the correct answer, I think you

d If you spoke more slowly, I

tell me.

understand you.

e If she were more polite when asking for a favour, I

f If you found a wallet in the street, you

help her

try to return it to its owner.

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Photocopiable Ediciones Santillana S.A. / Richmond 2011

(be) less smog in modern cities, people

b If there
healthier lives.
(not be) at risk if we all
c Some endangered species
for the environment.
(do) if you
(win) the lottery
d What
the class
(end) then if we
e What time
it a bit later than usual?
(not divorce) her husband if they
(have) a
f Mrs Knightley
happy marriage.
(mind) if I
(close) the window? Its very
cold in here.
(be) you, I
(postpone) the meeting because nobody has
h If I
arrived yet.

Extra Grammar 2
Answer Key

a had / would perhaps spend

b were (was) / would have
c would not be (wouldnt be) / cared
d would (you) do / won
e would (the class) end / finished
f would not divorce (wouldnt divorce) / had
g Would (you) mind / closed
h were / would (d) postpone

a could / might
b might
c should
d could / might
e might
f should

Photocopiable Ediciones Santillana S.A. / Richmond 2011

English Toolkit 2