It is possible to have sentences that mix conditionals in
… an if clause referring to the past with a main clause referring to the present or future.
If I had finished my law degree, I would have found a better job. (3rd conditional)
If I had finished my law degree, I would probably be a lawyer now. Mixed conditional
If you had taken the medication, you might not be lying sick in bed now. Mixed conditional
… an if clause referring to the present or future with a main clause referring to the past.
If I had the money, I would buy a car. (2nd conditional)
If I had the money, I would have bought a car long ago. Mixed conditional
If you were fitter, you could have caught the bus. Mixed conditional
If he spoke Black Speech, he would have got that job in Mordor. Mixed conditional
Conditional linking words and alternatives to if
unless = if… not
as long as/so long as, providing/provided (that), on (the) condition that = only if
in case of/in the event of
I’ll come to the party with you on the condition that you don’t wear those ridiculous trousers!
As long as you can check your email, we can stay in touch
You can have the day off today providing you agree to work a double shift tomorrow
I’m coming with you to Mordor, Sam, whether you like it or not.
They’re holding the carnival even if it is cold and wet. (
although it is cold and wet)
In the event of/in case of cancellation, a full refund will be provided. (in case of ≠ in case)
I’d better write it down, otherwise I’ll forget it.
Inversion with conditionals
Generally, in more formal styles we can omit if , but we have to place the auxiliary verb before the subject (inversion).
If you need further information, do not hesitate to contact us (or) If you should need further information… (more formal)
Should you need further information…
With verb to be (if should)
If I was/were in his shoes, I wouldn’t do it
Were I in his shoes, I wouldn’t do it
With other verbs (if were + to infinitive)
If I told the police where you were last night, we’d all have problems
Were I to tell the police, we’d all have problems
3rd conditional (if had)
If I had known that you were going to…
Had I known you were going to…
Negative in inverted conditionals
In inverted conditionals the negative is made by adding “not” after the subject!
Should the teacher not come, I’ll take over the class.
(Shouldn’t the teacher come, …)
Were I not a psycho, I wouldn’t have so many knives.
(Weren’t I a psycho, …)
Were Superman not to come, we would be in trouble.
(Weren’t Superman to come, …)
Had I not booked a return ticket, I would be able to stay for another month.
(Hadn’t I booked a return ticket, …)