Conditional type 2

Conditional type 2 consist of two sentences. One is a clause that starts with if, which is called as ‘if clause’. The other is called the Main clause. Each sentence has a verb. It is important to know which tenses are to be used in these clauses and they play a big role in determining the meaning of the sentence.

The conditional sentences indicate us a possible condition and its probable result. It means that the expected actions depends on a conditionIf Clauses – Type 2 is used to express dreams, unreal situations and things that are unlikely to happen. In other words, The condition specified in the clause is not actual but is a condition that is currently being imagined. Although the verb is used in the past, we use type 2 when talking about present time or now.

In a   sentence, the tense in the 'if' clause is the simple past, and the tense in the main clause is the present conditional or the present continuous conditional.

If clause (condition) Main clause (result)
If + simple past present conditional or present continuous conditional
If this thing happened that thing would happen.

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.

  • If it rained, you would get wet.
  • You would get wet if it rained.
  • If you went to bed earlier you wouldn't be so tired.
  • You wouldn't be so tired if you went to bed earlier.
  • If she fell, she would hurt herself.
  • She would hurt herself if she fell.


The conditional type 2 refers to an unlikely or hypothetical condition and its probable result. These sentences are not based on the actual situation. In conditional type 2 sentences, the time is now or any time and the situation is hypothetical.

  • If the weather wasn't so bad, we would go to the park. (But the weather is bad so we can't go.)
  • If I was the Queen of England, I would give everyone a chicken. (But I am not the Queen.)
  • If you really loved me, you would buy me a diamond ring.
  • If I knew where she lived, I would go and see her.

It is correct, and very common, to say "if I were" instead of "if I was" (subjunctive mood).

  • If I were taller, I would buy this dress.
  • If I were 20, I would travel the world.
  • If I were you, I would give up smoking.
  • If I were a plant, I would love the rain.

In conditional type 2 sentences, you can also use modals in the main clause instead of "would" to express the degree of certainty, permission, or a recommendation about the outcome.

  • We might buy a larger house if we had more money
  • He could go to the concert if you gave him your ticket.
  • If he called me, I couldn't hear.


The present conditional of any verb is composed of two elements:
would + the infinitive of the main verb, without "to"

Subject + would + infinitive
He would go
They would stay
Affirmative Negative Interrogative Interrogative Negative
I would go I wouldn't go Would I go? Wouldn't I go?
You would go You wouldn't go Would you go? Wouldn't you go?
He would go He wouldn't go Would he go? Wouldn't he go?
She would go She wouldn't go Would she go? Wouldn't she go?
We would go We wouldn't go Would we go? Wouldn't we go?
They would go They wouldn't go Would they go? Wouldn't they go?


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