Type II Conditionals

Form

IF + ACTION                   , CONSEQUENCE

IF + PAST SIMPLE          , WOULD + INF


Type II (Second) Conditionals are often described as being formed of If + Past Simple, Conditional. There is no Conditional tense in English, Would is a modal verb and is always followed  by an infinitive.


Type II Conditionals are often used with the Past Subjunctive instead of the Past Simple. This simpy means the verb form were is used instead of was. This is especially common when using Type II Conditionals to provide advice, the structure "If I were you". 

  

Function


  • We use Type II (Second) Conditionals to talk about:


            Unlikey events in the present or future.

            

            Present

            If I remembered the number, I would tell you

            I would tell you If I remembered the number.

  

            Future

            If I had a lot of money, I would buy a mansion.

            I would buy a mansion If I had a lot of money. 


  • This idea of unlikely events in the future is also a way to talk about Hypothetical scenarios


             If I won the lottery, I would quit my job

             Would you survive if a meteor struck the Earth?


  • We also use Type II Conditionals to give advice

            If I were you, I would go to the Doctor.

            I would go to the Doctor If I were you

            

It is not uncommon, especially in Britihs English, to omit the If clause "If I were you" and simply use I Would + Infinitive or I Should + Infinitive clauses to give advice. See modals of advice. 


If I saw the beggar, I would give him some money

Related topics


Past Simple form & function


Would + Infinitive


Modals of advice


Type 0 Conditionals


Type I Conditionals


Type III Conditionals


Mixed Conditionals

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