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Second conditional

(if clause)


In this topic, you will study a type of sentence called the second conditional. Like first conditional sentences, second conditional sentences are made of two smaller sentences joined together by the conjunction if. Unlike the first conditional, one sentence in the second conditional uses the past tense and the other one uses the auxiliary verb would. Look at the following example:

I would buy

a Ferrari


I had

a lot of money

Second conditional sentences are used to express an event that could take place under specific conditions that are not true at present. Because of that, we say that the second conditional expresses hypothetical conditions.


At the end of this topic you will recognize, practice and make use of the second conditional (if + past, would + base form of the verb) to express and give advice in hypothetical situations in the present.


To start with this lesson, please watch this video first. Here you will find
the explanation of the main topic.

the video goes here

Diagnostic activity: Remember the verbs

Before you start practicing the second conditional, let’s review the verbs in past form.

Now that you have remembered the past form of the verbs, let’s practice the second conditional.

Content exercise 1: Smash the clown game

In this game, you have to match the halves correctly to smash the clown.

Content exercise 2: Completing the text

Have you pictured yourself doing something more interesting instead of wasting your time? Having a healthy life is a decision we all should make, so we can have a better life.

Clark is a guy whose lifestyle isn’t the best. How would his life be if he did things differently? Read about him and then complete the sentences with the correct form of the verb in parenthesis.

Poor Clark!

Clark is a guy who usually gets sick because he doesn’t have a healthy lifestyle. He eats lots of junk food and smokes a package of cigarettes a day. Obviously, he doesn’t do exercise. He is a couch potato. He is always sitting on the couch watching movies and series on Netflix. He is overweight, so he isn’t that confident. He is very shy and doesn’t go out very often because he doesn’t have many friends. Most of the time, he is depressed, so he eats junk food and drinks pop to feel better. This is a never-ending story! Poor Clark!

Content exercise 3: Dilemmas

We’ve all been in a situation we don’t know what to do and we would love it if somebody gave us some advice.

Niño pensando. (2016). Medio en serio, medio en broma. Retrieved 11 December 2016, from https://medioenseriomedioenbroma.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/educar-a-ser-emprendedores-o-simplemente-mejores-personas/nino-pensando/

What would you do if...?

a) Imagine you’re in these situations. Write at least 2 sentences to explain what you would do in each case and explain why. Start the sentence with If I + the situation.

What would you do if...?

E.G. You didn’t have enough money to buy your mother a birthday present: If I didn’t have enough money to buy my mother a birthday present, I would make a video with pictures of the family. I think she would love it because she’s so corny.

1. You didn’t have enough money to buy your mother a birthday present:

2. You had the day off tomorrow:

3. You met your favorite actor/writer/singer:

4. You went to bed and the next day you woke up in Paris:

5. You won the lottery:

b) What would you do if you were on these people’s shoes? Give advice to them and explain why you would do that. Write sentences beginning: If I were you…

Give advice

E.G. I found a wallet in the street and it’s full of money: If I were you, I would check if there’s an ID card inside and I would look for the wallet’s owner. I’m an honest person and I would like people do that if I lost my wallet.

1. I am unemployed and need money to feed my baby. Someone offered me a job, dancing nude.

2. I saw someone breaking into my neighbor’s house.

3. I found out that my best friend is cheating on her/his spouse

4. When I got out from the theater, I took an expensive fur coat instead of my old coat by accident.

5. A friend lent me his car and I found out it is a stolen car


Activity 1

Choosing what you love

Some people want to study something they like but they are not able to do so. Maybe it’s because it’s a family tradition (they come from a family where the members studied Medicine, Economics, or Law). It could be because of social pressure (if you study X major, you won’t earn a lot of money).

Part 1


Were you in this situation? If you could study another major, what would it be?

Part 2

Checking your understanding

Read the text A career for a legacy. Click here to see the text.

Read the statements and choose 'true' or 'false', according to the text. Click on the Start exam button to answer the questions. Once you finish all the parts of the exam, click on Submit and finish.

Part 3


Look at the definitions from words on the same text and match them with the appropriate word.


Activity 2

If I were president

Most of the time, we, citizens complain about the bad use politicians give to our money or that they aren’t competent when they are ruling the city / country, etc.

Part 1


Do you think that the decisions politicians make affect our lives? How come and in what ways do they affect us?

Taxi Driver. (2013). NYC. Taken from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pennuja/

Part 2.

If I were President.

Ángel Revilla is a Venezuelan taxi driver working in New York. We interviewed him during his lunchtime. We asked him to tell us what he would do if he were the President of his country. This is what he said.

Click here to hear the audio file:


Taking a long break

Some people work really hard for a period of time. After having saved some money, they stop working and get away looking for adventures, without caring about time and money.

Scott Rodriguez, B. (2016).Scott.Fotografía interna.

Activity 1

From North To South

Read a blog entry about Scott, a guy who’s going on a crazy adventure.

Click here to read the text from his blog.

Activity 2

Giving your opinion

What do you think about his decision of taking a gap year to go on an adventure before getting married? Why do you think people from other countries can make this kind of decisions without hesitating? Could you do the same?

Activity 3

A gap year

Imagine you could take a gap year and you could do whatever you want during that time. You don’t have to worry about money because you have enough to get through the year. What would you do and where would you go during that year?

Write a 100-130 words text about it, in a word processor. Don’t forget to use the second conditional.

Check the information on the rubric in order to self-evaluate your writing. Check the flow of ideas, punctuation, spelling, grammar and vocabulary.

Activity 4

Reading Through Your Text

Check the information on the rubric in order to self-evaluate your writing. Check the flow of ideas, punctuation, spelling, grammar and vocabulary.


Time to improve

Do you remember the audio from the listening section? It was about a taxi driver who was talking about the situation in his country and the things he would do and would change if he were the President. If you don’t, click here to listen to it again.

Winter Political Speech in Large Warm Hall. flickr.com/photos/ambientjohn/

Activity 1.

Brainstorming ideas

Think about the situation in your country. Is it good or bad? What ideas do you think politicians would have to take into account in order to change or to improve your country situation?

Think about the following areas: Economy, Education, Transportation, Health Care, Agricultural Sector, Communications, Security, Laws, etc.

Activity 2.

Imagining solutions

Imagine you’re the President of your country. Record yourself in a 3-5 minutes audio talking about how different life in your country would be if you made some changes. Use the ideas from exercise 1.

Activity 3.

Sharing your ideas

Once you have uploaded your audio, listen to it and revise it through the next rubric. Then, share your audio or video with other students.

Finally, listen to another or audio from another student and comment it.

To give your opinion to the other student answer each of the following questions:

  • Do you agree or disagree with his / her ideas?
  • Which idea do you think is the best? Why?


A little conversation

You’ve already finished this lesson. Now it’s time for a quick quiz to test what you’ve learnt about the second conditional.

Read the statements and choose the correct option to complete them.

Choose the most appropriate option for the following statements. You can know your score at the end of the exercise.


Basic references

• Anon, (2016). [online] Available at: https://www.usingenglish.com/glossary/2nd-conditional.html [Accessed 1 Oct. 2016].
• Merriam-webster.com. (2016). Dictionary and Thesaurus | Merriam-Webster. [online] Available at: http://www.merriam-webster.com/ [Accessed 6 Oct. 2016].
• Grammar.cl. (2016). If I were you - English Grammar. [online] Available at: http://www.grammar.cl/english/if-i-were-you.htm [Accessed 8 Oct. 2016].

Complemental references

• Englishclub.com. (2016). Regular Verbs List | English Club. [online] Available at: https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/regular-verbs-list.htm [Accessed 25 Oct. 2016].
• Englishclub.com. (2016). Irregular Verbs List | English Club. [online] Available at: https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/irregular-verbs-list.htm [Accessed 25 Oct. 2016].
• Anon, (2016). [online] Available at: https://www.usingenglish.com/reference/irregular-verbs/ [Accessed 25 Oct. 2016].
• Learnenglishfeelgood.com. (2016). Second Conditional in English - Exercise 2 | English conditional tenses practice. [online] Available at: http://www.learnenglishfeelgood.com/grammar-secondconditional2.html [Accessed 25 Oct. 2016].
• Perfect-english-grammar.com. (2016). Second Conditional Exercise 1. [online] Available at: http://www.perfect-english-grammar.com/second-conditional-exercise-1.html [Accessed 25 Oct. 2016].
• LyricsTraining. (2016). Beyoncé - If I Were A Boy | Vídeo Musical, Letra de la Canción y Karaoke. [online] Available at: http://es.lyricstraining.com/play/beyonce/if-i-were-a-boy/Hg21St7USg# [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].