English Grammar

Third Conditional examples in English with formation

Third Conditional

third conditional are conditional sentences used to speak of the past. It refers to something that has not occurred in the past and therefore can express regret. Third Conditional in English with examples

All conditional sentences in English ( if clauses ) are accompanied by the term if (if).

Example : If we had saved some money, we would have bought a new phone.


The third conditional is formed by the if clause and the main clause . The clause if consists of verbs in the past perfect , since the main clause involves several verbs and the most used are: would have, Could have and might have. Third Conditional in English with examples

After the main clause , the verbs that appear appear in the past participle .

if + past perfect + would have, could have, might have + past participle

Examples :

If he had come on Monday, I would have seen him.
If she had worked more, she could have saved more money.
If we had studied harder, we might have passed the test.

Note : In negative sentences, modal verbs can appear with contractions:

Would: would not – wouldn’t
Could: could not – couldn’t
Might: might not – mightn’t

It is important to highlight that the main clause can appear before the if clause, for example:

I would’ve called him if I’d known him telephone number.

Note that the contraction of would with have is: would’ve.

First, Second and Third conditional

In addition to the third conditional , there are also the first and second conditionals in English. The three are formed by an if clause and a main clause . The differences between them reside in the formation and also in the purpose of each one.

Thus, in the first conditional, verbs appear in the present and in the future indicating future possibilities. His background is:

If + simple present + simple future + infinitive.

Example : If it rains tomorrow, I’ll stay at home.

In the second conditional , verbs appear in the past. These are used to speak of improbable or unrealistic actions to take place in the present. His background is:

If + simple past + would, could, might, should + infinitive.

Example : If I won the lottery, I would buy a new car.

Finally, the third conditional expresses something that has not happened before and therefore uses verbs in the past. That is, it suggests hypothetical situations that have not occurred in the past. Third Conditional in English with examples

His background is:

if + past perfect + would have, could have, might have + past participle.

Example: They would have found the key if they had looked for it. Third Conditional in English with examples

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