Third conditional

Daisy prepares a surprise party for Amy. 


As you watch the video, look at the examples of third conditional sentences. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, the third conditional correctly.


Daisy: Right, I think we’re almost ready. I just hope everyone arrives soon so we can hide before Amy gets here.
Ollie: What time did you tell people to come?
Daisy: About now, and Amy half an hour later.
Ollie: Mmm, but most of our friends arrive late and Amy’s usually early.
Daisy: It’ll be OK, I told them to be on time. They’ll all be here in a minute.
Alfie: Oh, hi, Amy. I bet we’re the first to arrive.
Amy: Hello. First for what?
Alfie: The party, of course. The surprise party.
Amy: I came to revise a bit with Daisy. Nobody told me anything about a party!
Alfie: They must have just forgotten. You can revise another day, can’t you?
Amy: Yes, but I haven’t brought anything, and if I’d known, I would have worn something nicer.
Alfie: I’ll say my present is from both of us, and you look great, you always look great. Um, well, let’s go in, shall we?
Daisy: What are you doing here!?
Alfie: We’re here for the party of course. The surprise party.
Daisy: Well, it’s not a surprise any more, is it?
Alfie: What do you mean?
Ollie: It was a surprise party for Amy, you idiot.
Amy and Alfie: Ohhhh.            
Alfie: Well, nobody told me. I thought it was for Sophie.
Ollie: I did tell you. If you didn’t play video games at the same time as you read your texts …
Alfie: I definitely would’ve remembered if you’d told me!
Amy: Listen, it doesn’t matter! I think it’s really, really sweet of you to have a party for me. And I am surprised. I couldn’t be more surprised!
Daisy: Ah, good. Happy birthday for two days ago!
Amy: Thanks a lot, Daisy, and Ollie. It’s a lovely surprise!
Daisy: It would’ve been even better if Alfie hadn’t ruined it!

We use the third conditional (if + past perfect, would + have + past participle) to talk about something in the past that did not happen.

How is the third conditional different from the other conditionals?

This is the way we imagine how things could have been different in the past. If something had been different, something else would have happened. Notice that both the condition and the result are impossible now.

If I’d known, I would have worn something nicer.

In this case, Amy didn’t know about the party so she didn’t wear special clothes.

OK, so the bit after if is different to what really happened?

Yes, then the next clause is imagining the result in the past, which didn’t happen, of course. The if clause can be at the beginning or at the end of the sentence.

I definitely would’ve remembered if you’d told me!

So Alfie didn’t remember because Ollie didn’t tell him.

Exactly. We can use negatives to talk about things that did happen in the past.

He wouldn’t have missed the bus if he hadn’t overslept.

So he overslept and he missed the bus.

Yes. When you’re using this kind of conditional be careful with the contractions. We use 'd for would and had.

If I’d seen him, I’d have asked him to come over.   (had, would)

Can you use other verbs apart from would?

Yes, we also use could or might.

If they’d told me, I might have been able to help.

These sentences all seem a bit negative.

Well, yes. We often use the third conditional to express regret or to complain about something.

It would’ve been even better if Alfie hadn’t ruined it!

If I’d known about the third conditional before, I wouldn’t have failed my English test!



If you had been born a boy/girl, how would your life have been different?

Average: 3.7 (10 votes)
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Submitted by Leandro18_ on Fri, 12/22/2023 - 05:23

If you had been born a boy/girl, how would your life have been different?

This is one of the greatest questions I've ever read before. To be honest, If I had been born as a girl, my life would have had a bigger impact. Why am I saying this ? Because of course, there are several benefits between being a girl and boy, such as, you don't have to pay always the bill when you go out with someone or even you could be " the most conceited in your family " I say this because I have a sister and as I described some of the benefits, she is a bit like my description, but it's alright , I have some benefits, as well. See you next time : )

Submitted by Rhylan on Sun, 05/15/2022 - 09:14

If you had been born a boy/girl, how would your life have been different? If I had been born boy, I would have a very different life. Firstly when I want to go somewhere with friends I would not pray. I have a brother and I see changes between us. Secondly, always the boys are more powerful. When I decide to watch news I see that hundreds womans in day are attaced by man. This can be like physicaly and mentaly. Why? Because they are more "strong". And due to this they always can get out to parties and get in home.

Submitted by HORAM on Thu, 03/10/2022 - 14:57

Hi I have Qs. Do we use d for could or might like had and would?

Submitted by editor_rachael on Fri, 03/11/2022 - 09:37



That's a good question! No, 'd only means I had or I would.


Hope that helps!


LearnEnglish Teens team

In reply to by HORAM

Submitted by auri34 on Mon, 12/20/2021 - 00:55

From my point of view, there are a bunch of things that would have been different if I'd been born a boy. I would have worn other clothes, my behavior would have been different and my feelings and past-time activities would have been a bit different too. Maybe I could have had other friends, I could have done sports among other things.
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Submitted by Cfvdv on Sat, 04/10/2021 - 00:45

If I'd been born a girl I would have worn different clothes, played with different toys, I would have made different friends, I would also probably like to chat with them more... I don't know... but many things would change.

Submitted by Didik on Tue, 04/06/2021 - 19:23

If I'd born a girl, probably I would have had a diferent room, I would have played diferent games, and I would have made diferents friends.

Submitted by Arivelde on Tue, 04/06/2021 - 15:22

If I had been born a girl, I don't know how it would be. Problably I would have different friends, a room just for me, separeted from my brothers, maybe I would be more organized, and problably have fewer dogs... Who knows?
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Submitted by Kostantinus on Sat, 01/30/2021 - 10:07

If I had been born a girl, all my life would have been completely different. I would have worn girls clothes, played girls toys, been attracted by boys. But I am not sure about last I've said))

Submitted by hermione123 on Thu, 12/31/2020 - 06:05

if i had been born a boy, i guess everything will be different. for instances, maybe i won't be a bookworm, or i will have more activities.
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Submitted by Andrii on Thu, 12/03/2020 - 18:13

If I'd been born a girl, I'd have a different room, different hobbies and different... everything.

Submitted by Stasiia_Ukr on Thu, 10/22/2020 - 07:54

If I had born the boy, I would have been really different from my real mind. So, I would have had other friends and because of that other qualities, I would have had other important things in my life: another style,knowlages. Maybe, if I had been a boy, I would never have found out that site))))))))))))

Submitted by ZoleBlank123 on Wed, 06/24/2020 - 11:46

After watching this video and do the exercises, I've understand now!!!

Submitted by Aljo1003 on Wed, 04/29/2020 - 07:24

It´s quite hard to say how my Life would have changed, if had been born a girl. I´m guessing however, that my social Life would be vastly diffrent in many ways. For example, a larger number of my friends would probably be girls. That means that I would probably have had diffrent hobbies and interest.
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Submitted by empty on Sun, 07/07/2019 - 12:21

Amy is so lucky that her friends care about her this much !
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Submitted by Youjiro on Sat, 02/02/2019 - 13:31

I can't image.I'd like to go to surprise party with a friends.
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Submitted by lifestar230 on Mon, 08/27/2018 - 00:14

I would like to have those foods for my family
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Submitted by lifestar230 on Tue, 08/21/2018 - 00:26

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