Conditional Type 3-Unit 9(Ticket to English2)



Conditional Sentences Type III refer to situations in the past. An action could have happened in the past if a certain condition had been fulfilled. Things were different then, however. We just imagine, what would have happened if the situation had been fulfilled.
Example: ⇒ If I had found her address, I would have sent her an invitation.
Sometime in the past, I wanted to send an invitation to a friend. I didn't find her address, however. So, in the end, I didn't send her an invitation.
Example: ⇒ If John had had the money, he would have bought a Ferrari.
I knew John very well and I know that he never had much money, but he loved Ferraris. He would have loved to own a Ferrari, but he never had the money to buy one.
If clause (condition) Main clause (result)
If + past perfect perfect conditional or perfect continuous conditional
If this thing had happened that thing would have happened.
As in all conditional sentences, the order of the clauses is not fixed. You may have to rearrange the pronouns and adjust punctuation when you change the order of the clauses, but the meaning is identical.
  • I would have believed you if you hadn't lied to me before.
  • If you hadn't lied to me before, I would have believed you.
  • If it had rained, you would have gotten wet.
  • You would have gotten wet if it had rained.
  • You would have passed your exam if you had worked harder.
  • If you had worked harder, you would have passed your exam.


The type 3 conditional refers to an impossible condition in the past and its probable result in the past. These sentences are truly hypothetical and unreal because it is now too late for the condition or its result to exist. There is always some implication of regret with type 3 conditional sentences. The reality is the opposite of, or contrary to, what the sentence expresses. In type 3 conditional sentences, the time is the past and the situation is hypothetical.
  • If I had known you were coming I would have baked a cake. (But I didn't know and I didn't bake a cake.)
  • If I had worked harder I would have passed the exam. (But I didn't work hard, and I didn't pass the exam.)
  • I would have been happy if you had called me on my birthday. (But you didn't call me and I am not happy.)
In type 3 conditional sentences, you can also use models in the main clause instead of "would" to express the degree of certainty, permission, or a recommendation about the outcome.
  • You could have been on time if you had caught the bus.
  • If I had worked harder I might have passed the exam.
Both would and had can be contracted to  'd, which can be confusing if you are not confident with type 3 conditional sentences. Remember two rules:
1. would never appears in the if-clause so if 'd appears in the if clause, it must be abbreviating had.
2. had never appears before have so if  'd appears on a pronoun just before have, it must be abbreviating would.
  • If I'd known you were in hospital, I'd have visited you.
  • If I had known you were in hospital, I would have visited you.
  • I'd have bought you a present if I'd known it was your birthday.
  • I would have bought you a present if I had known it was your birthday.
  • If you'd given me your e-mail, I'd have written to you.
  • If you had given me your e-mail, I would have written to you.


The perfect conditional of any verb is composed of three elements:
would + have + past participle
Have followed by the past participle is used in other constructions as well. it is called the "perfect infinitive".
Subject + would + have + past participle
He would have gone
They would have stayed
Affirmative Negative Interrogative Interrogative Negative
I would have stayed I wouldn't have stayed Would I have stayed? Wouldn't I have stayed?
You would have stayed You wouldn't have stayed Would you have stayed? Wouldn't you have stayed?
He would have stayed He wouldn't have stayed Would he have stayed? Wouldn't he have stayed?
She would have stayed She wouldn't have stayed Would she have stayed? Wouldn't she have stayed?
We would have stayed We wouldn't have stayed Would we have stayed? Wouldn't we have stayed?
They would have stayed They wouldn't have stayed Would they have stayed? Wouldn't they have stayed?

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