Speak About:

Present

Past

Past to Present

Future

Abilities - Responsibilities

Asking Questions

Choosing the Right Phrase

Combining Verbs

Explaining Ideas

Describing Your World

Complex Ideas

Relating Ideas, People, Objects

Speaking about Objects

Wondering about Situations

What Would Happen?

Second Conditional

The second, or 'unreal', conditional is used for improbable situations that are purely hypothetical. Use the second conditional when imagining various situations.

'If' clause - past simple + , + result clause - would + verb (conditional tense)

Examples of Unreal Situations

If the client could not afford a loss, the broker would not recommend an investment as risky as this.

She would not correspond with her if she were not a true friend.

Arthur would not be happy if you demanded earnest money from him.

She would buy a gift card if she were to find one for Sears.

Exception!

'Were' is often used for all subjects in the second conditional.

Example:

She would not correspond with her if she were not a true friend.

I would fulfill the customer's requirements much faster if I were better equipped technologically.

Differences Between First and Second Conditional

The choice between the first or second conditional is often based on the probability of a given situation. If something is truly possible, choose the first conditional.

Example:

If you examine your priorities and take the time to create a realistic budget, you will be able to stick to it!

He will take out a loan if the credit department is open until 10PM.

If something is not very possible or improbable, choose the second conditional.

Example:

If the client could not afford a loss, the broker would not recommend an investment as risky as this.

What would you do if your balance sheet didn't add up?

Do not use a comma, when placing the result clause first.

The gift card would actually be worth something if you got it for free.

I would be more likely to accept an operating loss if I were assured of future profits.