Speak About:



Past to Present


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

How would you compile the minutes of a meeting if you were secretary?

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

Jerry wouldn't reply if you asked him that question about deferred interest.

What would you do if the boss were to ask you to shred the minutes of a meeting?


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


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

I would hire Jack if I were sure the closing costs were low.

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.


We might see a good return on investment if the market continues to improve.

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

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


Jerry wouldn't reply if you asked him that question about deferred interest.

He would happily take a decision if the bank credit were encouraging.

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

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

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