1.if he were my brother, I would have helped him.

2.if he had been my brother, I would have helped him.

Are both sentences correct? If so, then how?

I think it's a third conditional. unreal past condition-unreal past result. but for that we should use had been not "were". I saw first one in my textbook.

2 Answers 2


Were is used in the Type-2 conditional sentences in the If-clauses and usually combines with the conditional present tense (would+ root verb) in the principal clauses. So, we can write: "If he were my brother, I would help him." Here, were implies an unreal hypothetical situation of "he being my brother" irrespective of any given time (which never occurred nor possible).

In the Type-3 conditional sentences, the past perfect form of the verb (had+past participle form of the verb) is used in the If-clause, while the principal clause takes the conditional perfect tense form. Thus, it is correct to write: "If he had been my brother, I would have helped him." This is also the same hypothetical situation that seemed possible in the past. This expresses a sense of regret.


Number 2.

This is an example of the third conditional:-

"The third conditional is used for situations that didn’t happen in the past and their imaginary results"


What textbook are you using?

  • it's in my english tuition textbook. Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 15:41
  • What's the name of the book? Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 16:08
  • It is kind of a local grammar book published by my english language teacher. Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 16:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .