I know there exist three main types of conditionals:

  1. real present or future (if clause: Present Simple, Present Continuos, Present Perfect; main clause: Future Simple or can, may, might, must + bare infinitive);
  2. unreal present or future (if clause: Past Simple, Past Continuos; main clause: would, could, might + bare infinitive);
  3. unreal past (if clause: Past Perfect, Past Perfect Continuous; main clause: would, could, might + Past Participle).

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. In the first case it is something like "plans'.

There are also three mixed types:

  1. condition 2 - main clause 3 (unreal, condition reffers to indefinite time, main clause - to certain past time);
  2. condition 3 - main clause 2 (unreal, condition - in the past, main part - present);
  3. condition 2 - main part 1.

Could you explain to me what type condition and main clause reffer to (condition reffers to type 2 and main part - type 1)? 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. I would like you to explain to me on this example:

"If nobody phoned him, he won't come to the meeting".
  • 2
    You understand that only English teachers and professional linguists use this kind of language to describe parts of speech. Without more information I don't know what you mean by "condition 2 - main part 1" since this relates only to how you, personally, are taught English and not to how English speakers form sentences.
    – Andrew
    Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 23:56
  • 1
    There are no mixed conditionals with unreal past in the condition and future in the result that I know of. These are the only two types of mixed conditionals: bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/… The only example that comes to mind -- though it is not a mixed conditional -- is "If I should see her, I'll give her your message". However, "should" there is not conditional and merely means: "If (by any chance) I happen to see her..."
    – Gustavson
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 1:29
  • By the way, didn't these answers convince you?: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/121433/conditional-types
    – Gustavson
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 1:36
  • 3
    The usual teaching of "first, second, third, &c conditionals" does not clearly distinguish form and modality. By "condition 2 - main part 1" do you mean a conditional consisting of 1) the protasis (condition clause) headed by a verb in past-tense form and 2) the apodosis (consequence clause) headed by a verb in present-tense form? Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 2:03
  • @Andrew, I have rewritten it and improwed it. Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 19:34

1 Answer 1


Unlike mixed conditionals combining conditionals type 2 and 3, in which the condition is, as you say, unreal, the condition in "If nobody phoned him, he won't come to the meeting" is real.

That sentence can be expanded into an ordinary conditional type 1 sentence, with present in the condition and future in the result:

  • If it is a fact / If it is true that nobody phoned him, then he won't come to the meeting.

Here's another example:

  • If you didn't study, you won't pass the exam.

Another mixed conditional you haven't mentioned but is also possible is the one combining present perfect (or even past) in the condition and present in the result:

  • If you haven't seen that movie, you don't/can't know what a good movie is.

  • If you didn't attend yesterday's introductory lesson, you are wasting your time here today.

  • Thank you. That is what I need. Good and clear explanation with examples. Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 18:00
  • @AnthonyVoronkov I'm happy to have been of help. That example you provided was crucial for me to understand what you meant by mixing conditionals type 1 and 2
    – Gustavson
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 1:50

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