Hypothetical Situations Lesson


Diego C


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To talk about hypothetical situations we use the past form of an action after if, then 'would' and the basic form of another action:

  • Ifwon the lottery, I would buy a big house.(I probably won't win the lottery)


(We can use 'were' instead of 'was' with 'I' and 'he/she/it'. This is mostly done in formal writing).

It has two uses.

First, we can use it to talk about things in the future that are probably not going to be true. Maybe I'm imagining some dream for example.


  • If I met the Queen of England, I would say hello.
  • She would travel all over the world if she were rich.
  • She would pass the exam if she ever studied.(She never studies, so this won't happen)


Second, we can use it to talk about something in the present which is impossible, because it's not true. Is that clear? Have a look at the examples:


  • If I had his number, I would call him. (I don't have his number now, so it's impossible for me to call him).
  • If I were you, I wouldn't go out with that man.



Taken from:

http://www.perfect-english-grammar.com/second-conditional.html (Perfect English Grammar)

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