I know there exist three main types of conditionals: first type (real present or future); second type (unreal present); third type (unreal past). And talking about second type we understand it as a "dream"as well as third means "regret" about something we shouldn't have done in the past.

There are also three mixed types: condition 2 - main clause 3 (unreal, condition reffers to indefinite time, main clause - to certain past time); condition 3 - main clause 2 (unreal, condition - in the past, main part - present); condition 2 - main part 1. Doing test I was confused with one statement:

Hellen is bossy. She acts as if she owned the place.

I thought it is the right answer but still don't know is it mixed type 3 and if it is so, could you explain to me to what type reffers condition, main clause and what is its type (real/unreal) as we have two different parts. Types 2 and 3 are both unreal so there is no confusion. But in the case above.

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    The "first, second, third, etc conditionals" are not linguistically meaningful categories, just pedagogical crutches to help learners get a primitive grasp of conditionals. You seem to have mastered enough English to throw away the crutches and walk on your own. Mar 5, 2017 at 13:45

2 Answers 2


As a side note to StoneyB's excellent answer: There are many English idioms that include the word "if". Many of these are not really conditional expressions but rather variations on other, simple phrases:

"As if" = "like" : "He looks as if he's going to run away"

"Don't mind if I do" = "I will" : "Would you like another cup of coffee?" "Don't mind if I do."

"If nothing else" = "for no other reason" : "Taking a walk every day will, if nothing else, get you away from the computer for a few hours"

"If you please" = "Please" : "Help me clear away the dishes from the table, if you please?"

And many more. Again as StoneyB mentions you could imagine a conditional in all of these, but it's not a very useful exercise. Instead it's more useful to simply recognize their underlying meaning when you see them.

Side note: You're also mixing verb tenses in your example sentence. It (normally) should be either,

She acted as if she owned the place


She acts as if she owns the place

However, native speakers also make this kind of mistake, so it's more about good style than perfect grammar. More information on verb consistency


She acts as if she owned the place.

This isn't a conditional at all.

Conditional constructions have the general form "If P, then Q", with a condition clause (protasis or if clause) subordinated to a consequence clause (then clause (apodosis or then clause—but more often than not the then is omitted).

In your sentence, however, there is no condition clause. As if is complicated (many constructions with as are complicated!), but it's fundamentally a comparative construction functioning in this case as an adverbial complement to acts

She acts impulsively.
She acts in this manner.
She acts like this.
She acts like she owns the place.

You might argue that a conditional construction underlies the as if clause:

as she would act [this way] if she owned the place.

But this subordinated conditional contains both the condition clause and the (deleted) consequence clause; the matrix clause she acts ... plays no role in the conditional construction.

There's a lengthy discussion of as if / as though in Huddleston and Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, 1151-2; they take these phrases to be compound prepositions.


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