Mixed Conditionals

Explanations and Examples


Mixed conditionals are conditionals where the tense in the main clause is different from the tense in the conditional-clause (also called if-clause).

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This happens in second and third conditionals (unreal conditionals).

Examples of conditionals:
  • If I won the prize, I would takemixed conditionals you shopping.

    Future + Future

  • I would be happy if Tom asked me to the dance.

    Future + Future

  • Bob would have known what to get only if he had asked his father.

    Past + Past

  • If I had put air in the tires, I wouldn't have had a flat tire last night.

    Past + Past

Mixed conditionals

Present + Past

If I were you, I would have bought the red dress.

(I am not you, so I did not buy the red dress in the past.)

If the teacher were here, she would have turned on the heater this morning.

(The teacher is not here right now, so the heater was not turned on this morning.)

If the students had more time, they would have finished their work yesterday.

(The students do not have more time, so they did not finish their work yesterday.)
student working

Present + Future

If I were you, I would call Tom and apologize.

(I am not you, but you should call Tom and apologize.)

If Bob had more time, he would attend the cooking class next week.

(Bob does not have more time, so he will not attend the cooking class next week.)

If Fred were here, he would go with us to Colorado on Thursday.

(Fred is not here right now, so he will not go with us to Colorado on Thursday.)
man

Future + Past

If they weren't traveling to France on Thursday, they would have planned to attend your birthday party.

(They are planning to travel to France in the future, so they did not plan to attend the party.)


If I weren't quitting my job in two weeks, I would have purchased you a gift for Christmas.

(I am quitting my job in two weeks, so I did not purchase you a gift for Christmas.)

If Don's sisters weren't going to the theater, they would have agreed to babysit.

(Don's sisters are going to the theater in the future, so that is why they did not agree to babysit.)

babysitter

Future + Present

If I were getting married tomorrow, I would be relaxing right now.

(I am not getting married tomorrow, so I do not need to relax right now.)

If Jenny and Eric were going to be here for the holidays, they would be making plans.

(Jenny and Eric are not going to be here for the holidays, so they are not making plans now.)

If Dan were traveling with us to Boston in March, he would be saving money.

(Dan is not traveling with us to Boston in March, so he is not saving money now.)
man

Past + Present

If I had studied in school, I would have a diploma now.

(I did not study in the past, so I do not have a diploma now.)

If Nick had turned in his application, he would be working here now.

(Nick did not turn in his application in the past, so he is not working here in the present.)

If you had recorded the show last night, we could watch it.

(You did not record the show last night, so we can't watch it now.)

man watching television

Past + Future

If Rose had not called him, they wouldn't be going to the party together tomorrow.

(Rose did call him, so they are going to the party together tomorrow.)

If Nathan and Lisa had finished their chores, they would receive their allowance tonight.

(Nathan and Lisa did not finish their chores, so they will not get their allowance tonight.)

If the television had not broken, we would watch the game this weekend.

(The television broke in the past, so we cannot watch the game this weekend.)

football

Note

You can switch the order of the conditional-clause (if-clause) and the main clause.

Use a comma after the conditional-clause when it comes first.

Do not use a comma if the conditional-clause comes second.

Examples:
  • If I had studied in school, I would have a diploma right now.

    I would have a diploma now if I had studied in school.

  • If Nathan and Lisa had finished their chores, they would receive their allowance tonight.

    Nathan and Lisa would receive their allowance tonight if they had finished their chores.

  • If Dan were traveling with us to Boston on Sunday, he would be saving money.

    Dan would be saving money if he were traveling with us to Boston on Sunday.

  • If I were you, I would have bought the red dress.

    I would have bought the red dress if I were you.

lady in red dress

Common errors in conditionals

For common errors and tips for English conditionals, read this lesson on Conditionals in English.

These were the uses of Mixed Conditionals. Now that you know them, it is time to practice! Read and do exercises.

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