Conditional Type 3 – English grammar courses

In this lesson, we will learn about the Conditional Type 3. We use the conditional type 3 to express Regret or to talk about events and actions in the past that are impossible.

Its form is: If + Subject + Verb (past perfect) + Subject + Would + Have + Past participle

The sentence is composed of two parts: the Conditional clause & the Main clause.

The conditional clause is formed by if+Past perfect and the main clause is formed by would+have+past participle.

It’s not obligatory that the conditional clause be the first. The main clause can be the first and in this case, it’s not necessary for a comma to separate the two clauses.


Let’s look at one example sentence:


If I had worked hard, I would have passed the test.


“If + (I had worked hard)” is the if+past perfect conditional clause.  “I would+have+passed the test” is the would+have+past participle. This formula is very consistent as we can see the following examples:


If I had gone home, I would have seen my family.

If I had gone to swim, I would have caught a cold.

If I had won the prize, I would have been rich.

You can also swap the clauses around:


We would have something to eat if he had made dinner.

We would have been watching a movie right now if she had fixed the computer.

They would have seen beautiful nature if they went to the countryside.


Let’s look at some new examples but this time with the word, “not”:


If you hadn’t woke up early, you would have missed the train.

If I hadn’t driven carefully, an accident would have happened.

If she had arrived on time, we would not have been late.


You can also swap the clauses around:


He wouldn’t have been famous if he did nothing.

I would not have known what happened if he hadn’t called.

She would not have been able to make money if she hadn’t worked.


You can also replace “would” with other modal verbs. This would, of course, change the meaning of the sentence a bit. For example:


If I had a guitar, I might have learned how to play it.

If they had been here, you could leave.


“Have” is often abbreviated as “’ve”: I’ve no idea.

“Had” is often abbreviated as “’d”: I’d know about that.

“Would have” is often abbreviated as “would’ve”: If you told me, I would’ve known what to do.


Let’s do some exercises with what we have learned already. Please create 6 sentences using conditional type 3.