Mixed Conditionals

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Course materials usually teach that conditional sentences consist of two clauses – a MAIN (CONDITIONAL) clause containing a verb in a form with WILL or WOULD and a SUBORDINATE clause introduced by IF. Generally, the two clauses are separated by a comma if we begin with the IF clause.  We don’t use a comma when we begin with the conditional clause.

In casual conversation if is hardly pronounced and the vowel disappears entirely.  A phrase like if I were you is pronounced /faɪwəjuː/

This is when the time in the IF clause is different to time of the result.

PAST                                    PRESENT

If I had studied harder,   /    I would be at university
If he had been to  Cyprus, / he would’ve  known they drive on the left

PAST                                                       FUTURE

If I had got that job,                     /          I’d be starting tomorrow
If I had been born in England,   /         I wouldn’t have to go to the embassy
If she had saved some money,   /         She’d be joining us on the trip

PRESENT                                             PAST

If I spoke German,  /                               I would have gone to work in Berlin
If I lived in England,     /                         I would’ve gone to the Olympics
If I was a gardener,      /                          I would’ve bought a garden

Exercises:

Complete the following sentences with a future or present result:

If I had won the lottery, ……………………………………………….

If I had studied harder, ……………………………………………….

If I had learnt Spanish, ………………………………………………..

If I had been born in a different country, ………………………………….

Complete with a present result:

If I lived in Russia, …………………………………………

If I was taller, ……………………………………………….

If I was prettier, …………………………………………….

If I could cook, ………………………………………………

Write the following phrases onto flashcards and distribute them around the class.  Get the students to finish off their phrases with present or future results:

If Stalin hadn’t ruled Russia………………………

If I hadn’t learnt English…………………………..

If the Second World war hadn’t happened…………………….

If electricity hadn’t been discovered……………………………..

If the internet hadn’t been invented…………………………….

Choose an appropriate video clip from you tube (i.e. Mr Bean driving on the roof of his car or Mr Bean at the swimming pool).  Get the students to watch the video.  Each then has to write out the first part of a conditional sentence, either in the past or present eg:If Mr Bean was clever, If he wasn’t scared of heights, If he hadn’t gone to the swimming pool, if the lifeguard hadn’t stopped him etcThe other students then have to complete the sentences with mixed conditional phrases, so if the first part of the sentence is in the present tense, the second part needs to be in the past and vice versa.

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