Did I got it right?

If it stays dry for another week, we'll have a major drought. FIRST CONDITIONAL (PROBABLE CONDITION)

If you weren't so stubborn and listened to me, your life would be much easier. SECOND CONDITIONAL (IMPROBABLE CONDITION)

If the rescue team had arrived sooner, more lives could have been saved. THIRD CONDITIONAL (IMPOSSIBLE CONDITION)

I am confused about the difference between second and third conditional.

  • Is there any reason to think you have made a mistake? Please identify a particular point of concern.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 7:06
  • I am confused about the difference between second and third conditional. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 7:11
  • You need to explain what your confusion is. Please edit to explain exactly what your confusion is.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 7:14
  • 3
    We hope you understand that there are many more than three or four kinds of conditional sentence in English. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 9:00
  • Also, we would ask Did I get it right? The past tense is formed with the auxiliary did plus the bare form of the infinitive (get). Did it rain? not Did it rained? We could also ask Have I gotten it right? and in that case, we use the past participle with auxiliary have.
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 11:56

3 Answers 3


Yes, the OP got it right.

To clear up the confusion, you use the first conditional for a real possible situation that is likely to happen.

If he comes, we'll go to the party.

You use the second conditional to talk about something that's unreal and impossible to happen.

If he came, we'd go to the party.

As for the third conditional, you use it to talk about impossible situations in the past, w didn't happen in the past.

If he had come, we would have gone to the party.


Think about them that way:

0 conditional (Present Simple+Present Simple) refers to something certain and is always true. If one condition is achieved it will have consequence and there's no doubt about it.

When people turn 18, they officially come of age.

1st conditional (Present simple+Future Simple) refers to the future (thus it uses future tense). It means that if one condition is achieved it MIGHT have consequence. People have struggles differing 0 and 1st conditional. Just remember that the 0 one refers mostly to fields od science and studies. General thing is that consequences are crucial and unavoidable, which does not happen in the 1st conditional.

If she calls me, I will tell her about the party. No natural or political law is forcing me to, but I MIGHT do it.

2nd conditional (Past Simple+Future in the Past Simple"would") refers to the present. It means that if one condition was true at the moment, it would have consequences. I know, I'm explaining conditional with conditional sentence, but hear me out. This condition is not true whatsoever. Thus, the consequence is impossible to achieve.

If my dog were a cat... (but it's not; consequence is not possible now)

If I could stop the time... (but I can't; consequence is not possible now)

And this is a general idea. Remember, the 2nd conditional refers to the present! it is speaking of what the world would be if the present were changed.

3rd conditional (Past Perfect+Future in the Past Perfect"would have") refers to the past. Think about it as the 2nd conditional BUT in the past. The whole idea is the same. Now, the condition that we wanted to achieve had to be achieved in the past. There is no going back and changing it, thus there is no way of achieving the consequence.

If I had been there sooner... (but I wasn't; consequence didn't happen)

If my dog had been born a cat... (but it hadn't; consequence didn't occur)

So the 3rd conditional is just speaking of what the world would have looked like in the past if a certain condition had been achieved.

And your sentences are grammatically correct, so I hope you get the idea.


Second conditionals are used to describe impossible things in the present/unlikely things in the future, but they still can happen in the future:

"If I won the lottery, I would sail round the world."

Third conditionals are for things that didn't happen in the past and their imaginary results:

"If I had studied harder, I would have passed the exam."

So, second and third conditionals are quite different.

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