Second Conditional

Second Conditional Espresso English

If I were an animal, I’d be a tiger!

Now that you’ve learned about the first conditional, let’s look at the second conditional.

Use the Second Conditional to talk about impossible, imaginary, or unlikely situations:

  • If I were an animal, I’d be a tiger. (impossible)
  • What would you do if you had a billion dollars? (imaginary)
  • If Americans ate less fast food, they’d be healthier. (unlikely)

There are two parts to a second conditional sentence: the condition and the result:

CONDITION RESULT
If he exercised more, he’d be thinner.
If I were taller, I could be a professional basketball player.
If the teacher spoke more slowly, we’d understand her better.
If your company went bankrupt, what would you do?

 

It is possible to reverse the condition and the result:

If you slept 8 hours every night, you’d feel better
= You’d feel better if you slept 8 hours every night.

How to form the second conditional:

CONDITION:  if + subject + past simple

RESULT:  subject + would/might/could + verb

With would, it’s common to use the contractions:
I’d, you’d, he’d, she’d, we’d, they’d

What’s the difference between would, might, and could?

would – the result is more definite or certain

If Peter asked Karen to marry him, she would say yes.
(In this case, we know that Karen loves Peter very much)

might – the result may or may not happen

If Peter asked Karen to marry him, she might say yes… but she might say no. (In this case, we aren’t sure if Karen loves Peter or not)

could – to talk about possible results

If I had a million dollars, I could do anything! I could buy a new car every month, I could have my own helicopter, I could live in a mansion, I could eat expensive gourmet food, I could quit my job…
(could emphasizes the opening of possibilities) 


Second Conditional Quiz

Congratulations - you have completed Second Conditional Quiz. You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
You _____________ more things done if you didn't spend so much time on the internet!
A
don't get
B
got
C
could get
Question 2
If I met Brad Pitt, ____________ him for an autograph!
A
I didn't ask
B
I asked
C
I'd ask
Question 3
What ________________ if you didn't have to go to work tomorrow?
A
did you do
B
do you do
C
would you do
Question 4
If we _____________ so much, we'd have time to take guitar lessons.
A
wouldn't work
B
couldn't work
C
didn't work
Question 5
If ____________ a car accident happen, I'd call an ambulance.
A
I saw
B
I could see
C
I'd see
Question 6
If I were you, __________ a new girlfriend.
A
I found
B
I've found
C
I'd find
Question 7
My manager ______________ so stressed if he took more time off.
A
wouldn't be
B
wasn't
C
isn't
Question 8
If you ____________ one thing about your appearance, what would you change?
A
will change
B
changed
C
could change
Question 9
I'd help you if I ___________ more about computers.
A
knew
B
would know
C
known
Question 10
___________ happier if he stopped worrying about everything.
A
He'd be
B
He was
C
He's
Once you are finished, click the button below. Any items you have not completed will be marked incorrect. Get Results
There are 10 questions to complete.

Master the details of English grammar:

Second Conditional Espresso English

Learn more about this course