Mixed Conditionals

| | Comments (2)

Most coursebooks teach mixed conditionals, but few look at just how mixed the conditionals can be.

It is possible to mix the first and the third conditional:

If she is such a good doctor, she should have diagnosed the disease.

Here, the problem that makes me doubt her ability is in the past, but my doubts are present. If I use a more certain modal verb, the sentence changes:

If she was\were such a good doctor, she would have diagnosed the disease.

Here, her failure to diagnose is clear, so I do not believe in her ability.

Most mixed conditionals are taught along the lines of starting in the third conditional (past action) and finishing with the second (present\future result:

If he hadn't broken his leg, he would be playing in the match.

However, there are more complex conditionals where past result affects the current situation.

See also: http://www.usingenglish.com/glossary/conditionals.html

Categories: General

2 Comments

At times I feel you can use 'would' with the first example. At others I don't. ;-)

user-pic
sunanda sangam

If condition doubt
He did not read well. So he failed in exam.
Ans. If he had read well,he wouldn't have failed in the exam.
Ans. If he had read well, he would have passed the exam.

Leave a comment


Type the characters you see in the picture above.