Could someone help me figure out what kind of conditionals these sentences fit into? (I've been looking at conditionals here.)

  • "If I had taken that bus I would be safe and warm right now."— it starts out like a third conditional but it doesn’t end with “have + participle” (as in the example “If I had studied harder I would have passed the exam”). So what is the rule for this example and which type of conditional does it fit into?

  • “If I die tomorrow I’d be alright because I believe….” (It’s from song lyrics). Is "die" correct here? Or is it “died”? Which type of conditional does this fit?

  • 1
    Logically, the second one should be If I die tomorrow I will... or if I died tomorrow I would... Aug 31, 2021 at 16:17
  • Personally, for the second, I'd vote for "If I were to die tomorrow I'd...". But song lyrics are given a lot of grace for poetic license; it's hardly the least grammatical thing ever put to music. Aug 31, 2021 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


"If I had taken that bus I would be safe and warm right now."

This is correct. It's what's known in some EFL/ESL textbooks as a "mixed conditional" or "mixed 2/3 conditional" because the "if" clause has a verb in the past perfect (as in the third conditional) but the consequence clause has the construction "would"+bare infinitive (as in the second conditional).

Like a third conditional, the "if" clause describes a condition that is in the past - a past unreal condition that was not met. But like a second conditional, the consequence clause describes a consequence that is in the present (not a consequence in the past).

In the third conditional you'd say "If I had taken that bus I would have been safe and warm", but instead you want to express the fact that if you'd done things differently you'd be safe and warm now, so you use the mixed construction. It's perfectly standard and perfectly logical.

"If I die tomorrow I’d be alright because I believe…"

This, on the other hand, is badly worded. It should be either "If I die tomorrow, I'll be all right..." (first conditional) or "If I died tomorrow, I'd be all right..." (second conditional). (The form "If I were to die tomorrow, I'd be all right..." is also fine and is a variant of the second conditional. I use the spelling "all right" because in British English the spelling "alright" is sometimes considered nonstandard.)

  • Thank you very much for that explanation. Can you tell me about this sentence too?: "I'd be safe and warm if I was in LA" -- is this correct and second conditional? Could it also be "were" instead of "was"? Thanks again!
    – Jo R
    Sep 29, 2021 at 16:56
  • @JoannaRedman Yes, that's correct too and is a second conditional - and "were" would work as well. In formal usage, "were" is preferred, but most native speakers substitute "was" at least some of the time. ("People often say if I was you and if it was up to me, but the subjunctive is preferable in writing, especially any formal or academic prose." - lexico.com/grammar/when-to-use-the-subjunctive )
    – rjpond
    Sep 29, 2021 at 18:52
  • Thank you very much for your great answers! Do you know any resources online (or otherwise) that summarise the different kinds of conditionals along with the mixed ones too?
    – Jo R
    Oct 6, 2021 at 13:45
  • Also, for the subjunctive: can either of these be correct too?: "I was wondering if it was for a trip" and "I was wondering if it were for a trip". Thanks again, Joanna
    – Jo R
    Oct 6, 2021 at 13:53

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