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5. Mixed Conditional

 

There are situations where the time in the if-clause is different than that in the main clause. 

This type of situation is called mixed conditional.  You can have the following combination of mixed conditionals.

(i)   Past Unreal with Present Unreal

(ii)  Past Unreal with Future Unreal

(iii)  Present Unreal with Past Unreal

(iv)  Present Unreal with Future Unreal

(v)   Future Unreal with Past Unreal

(vi)  Future Unreal with Present Unreal

 

(i)  Past Unreal with Present Unreal

a. If I had won the lottery, I would buy a vacation home now.

=> Because I did not win the lottery, I cannot buy a vacation home now.

 (If-clause: Unreal situation in the past.  Main clause: unreal situation in the present)

 

b. If Joe hadn’t committed suicide, his kids would have a father.

=> Because Joe committed suicide, his kids do not have a father.

 

(ii)  Past Unreal with Future Unreal

a. If Adam had bought the big screen TV on sale last week, we would be watching the Super Ball with him at home tomorrow. 

=> Adam did not buy the big screen TV on sale last week, and we will be watching the Super Ball at a sport bar instead.

(If-clause: Unreal situation in the past.  Main clause: Unreal situation in the future)

 

b. If Jim had studied harder, he would be attending Harvard this fall.  

=> However, Jim did not study harder; he will not be attending Harvard this fall.

 

(iii)  Present Unreal with Past Unreal

a. If I were you, I would have asked a raise before the boss went on vacation.

=> I am not you and so I did not ask a raise before the boss went on vacation.

(If-clause: Unreal situation in the present.  Main clause: Unreal situation in the past)

 

b. If I didn’t have to care for my dog, I would have been able to hop on the flight and go to Hawaii with you yesterday.  

=> I have to care for my dog, so I was unable to hop on the flight and go to Hawaii with you yesterday.

 

(iv)  Present Unreal with Future Unreal

a. If I didn’t have to care for my dog, I would be going to Hawaii with you tomorrow. 

=> I have to care for my dog, so I am not going to Hawaii with you tomorrow.

(If-clause: Unreal situation in the present.  Main clause: Unreal situation in the future)

 

b. If John were more extroverted, he would apply for a position as a salesman.

=> John is not extroverted and he will not apply for a position as a salesman.

 

(v)   Future Unreal with Past Unreal

a. If I my boyfriend weren’t coming over for dinner tonight, I would have gone shopping with Mary.

=> My boyfriend is coming over for dinner tonight, so I did not go shopping with Mary.

(If-clause: Unreal situation in the future.  Main clause: Unreal situation in the past)

 

b. If Mary weren’t going swimming tomorrow, she would have gone skiing this morning.

=> Mary is going swimming tomorrow and that was why she did not go skiing this morning.

 

 (vi)  Future Unreal with Present Unreal

a. If my boyfriend weren’t taking me to the concert tomorrow, I would be sad.

=> My boyfriend is taking me to the concert tomorrow, so I am not sad.

(If-clause: Unreal situation in the future.  Main clause: Unreal situation in the present)

 

b. If he were leaving for Paris the next day, he would pack his luggage now.

=> He is not leaving for Paris the next day, so he does not have to pack his luggage now.

 

Previous => 條件句 5-7: The Third Conditional (與過去事實相反)

Next => 條件句 7-7: Conditional - Misc.

 

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  • cf
  • Hi Elisa,Nice to meet you and well done!I've been recently studying English particularly hard for the IELTS. I found there was so much I didn't know like I never learn this language at all: aspects, mixed conditionals, to name a few. I have to say that your article is the best explanation about mixed conditional written by domestic people I can find on the internet. Then there is a question raising in mind: it seems what I was being taught since I was in junior high was incorrect and misleading ;(I also read your "How to improve your English ability" and I quite agree with your point. However I just can't help to wish that I could improve my speaking enormously in the short term. Especially after I recorded my voice. It sounded just horrible! I want a fluent, natural sounding English!By the way, if you find any thing grammatically wrong in what I write above, please feel free to point it out. I've got to be more rigorous on my writing in order to improve.
  • Hi, cf
    Thanks for dropping by and for your compliments on my articles. 
    What I see the problem with English education in Taiwan is that the teachers do not know grammar thorougly and do not understand the whole story.  They only know it bits and pieces and they use that bits and pieces to teach the students.  A lot of people thought that if they are armed with a grammar book to teach, they are right all the time.  That's absolutely wrong unless they know all the grammar rules and know when all of them apply.  Learning only pieces of the grammar rules and applying them to all cases is a huge mistake.  Please see my article about misplaced modifier where one person was providing somewhat misleading information using a grammar book.
    I just got the name of the book that someone who has been asking me English question is reading.  I believe that book is pretty good, judging from the examples provided.  I will recommend that later.  The common problems with the Taiwanes arouond writing are redundancy and wrong usage.  A lot of the Taiwanese learn English by translation, meaning learning the translated English.  There is not always a Chinese meaning that can fully describe an English word.  Through translation, some of the meanings were askewed, and some of them were lost.  That is why it is important to use an English-English dictionary. 
    Taiwanese tend to use complicate sentence and lengthy sentence.  However, good English writing is to make sure that the readers can understand what you are trying to portray.  So, a simple, clear and precise sentences are what's most important.  When I have time, I will write about the tips of writing and what constitutes a good English writing.

    elisaenglish 於 2009/05/10 19:58 回覆

  • Crackerjack
  • THX..i feel better on that grammer... now it made sence for me...lol here is another question: {All over the world, a great many people are becoming selfish; they always stay focused on their business.} why here need to add -ed ? Is it because there already had a verb-stay,so another verb should add -ed ?orthe word, focuse, add -ed just bcz past participle ?I'm really poor in grammer...THX!!
  • No.  It is because it is “passive voice”.
     
    I want to learn how to be focused on studies and not to fall into sleep.
    = I want to learn how to stay focused on studies and not to fall into sleep.
    = I want to learn how to keep myself focused on studies and not to fall into sleep.
     
    How do you keep yourself motivated?
     
    How do you stay motivated after all these difficulties?
     
    How to be motivated if all I have is bad luck?
    Is it clear now?

    elisaenglish 於 2009/03/21 00:44 回覆

  • Crackerjack
  • hello請問一下像這句子If I were you, I would have asked a raise before the boss went on vacation.那個have 甚麼時候要加 甚麼時候不用加的用法一直搞不太懂謝謝~
  • If I "were" you
    => 與現在事實相反的條件句 => use past tense "were" => In reality, I am not you.

    I "would have asked" a raise before the boss went on vacation.
    => 與過去事實相反的條件句 => use past perfect tense "would have asked"
    => In reality, I did not ask a raise before the boss went on vacation.

    Can you tell the difference?
    This is a mix condition with conditionals in different time, one stating an unreal present, while the other stating an unreal past.

    elisaenglish 於 2009/03/17 08:15 回覆

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