Third conditional

The Third Conditional: From Regret To Hypothetical Thinking

If you’ve ever wondered how to convey your regrets about past actions, ponder alternative outcomes, or engage in thought-provoking discussions, then the third conditional is the key that will take your language skills to the next level.

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced English learner, understanding and mastering the third conditional will enrich your ability to express yourself with nuance and depth.

So, let’s break down the structure and make it crystal clear!

Also read:

The Structure Of The Third Conditional

If + past perfect (had + past participle),would + have + past participle
If I had known about the traffic,I would have left earlier.

When To Use The Third Conditional

RegretsExpressing regret about past actions or decisions that we wish we had done differently.If I had studied harder, I would have passed the exam.
Unrealized OpportunitiesDiscussing missed opportunities or actions that did not happen in the past, imagining alternative outcomes if things had been different.If she had accepted the job offer, she would have had a higher salary.
Imagining Different ScenariosCreating hypothetical scenarios and exploring alternative possibilities in the past based on unreal conditions.If they had bought a bigger house, they would have more space for their family.
Advice or CritiqueGiving advice or making hypothetical suggestions about what someone could have done differently in the past.If you had arrived on time, you wouldn’t have missed the beginning of the movie.

10 Examples Of Third Conditional Sentences

1. If she had studied harder, she would have passed the exam.

2. If they had left earlier, they wouldn’t have missed the train.

3. If I had known it was your birthday, I would have bought you a gift.

4. If he had listened to my advice, he wouldn’t have ended up in trouble.

5. If we had booked the tickets in advance, we would have gotten better seats.

6. If they had invited me, I would have attended the party.

7. If it hadn’t rained, we would have gone for a picnic.

8. If she had saved money, she would have bought a new car.

9. If he had practiced more, he would have become a better guitarist.

10. If we had won the lottery, we would have traveled around the world.

Third Conditional Exercises

Third conditional exercises

Exercise 1: Complete the following sentences using the third conditional structure:

  1. If she __________ (win) the competition, she __________ (celebrate) all night.
  2. If I __________ (have) more time, I __________ (visit) my grandparents.
  3. If they __________ (study) harder, they __________ (get) better grades.
  4. If it __________ (not rain), we __________ (have) a picnic in the park.
  5. If he __________ (save) money, he __________ (buy) a new car.

Exercise 2: Rewrite the following sentences using the third conditional:

  1. I didn’t take my umbrella, and I got wet in the rain.
    → If I __________ (take) my umbrella, I __________ (not get) wet in the rain.
  2. They didn’t listen to my advice, and they made a big mistake.
    → If they __________ (listen) to my advice, they __________ (not make) a big mistake.
  3. She didn’t study for the test, and she failed.
    → If she __________ (study) for the test, she __________ (not fail).
  4. We didn’t leave early, and we missed the last bus.
    → If we __________ (leave) early, we __________ (not miss) the last bus.
  5. He didn’t apologize, and he lost his best friend.
    → If he __________ (apologize), he __________ (not lose) his best friend.


Exercise 1:

  1. If she had won the competition, she would have celebrated all night.
  2. If I had had more time, I would have visited my grandparents.
  3. If they had studied harder, they would have gotten better grades.
  4. If it hadn’t rained, we would have had a picnic in the park.
  5. If he had saved money, he would have bought a new car.

Exercise 2:

  1. If I had taken my umbrella, I wouldn’t have gotten wet in the rain.
  2. If they had listened to my advice, they wouldn’t have made a big mistake.
  3. If she had studied for the test, she wouldn’t have failed.
  4. If we had left early, we wouldn’t have missed the last bus.
  5. If he had apologized, he wouldn’t have lost his best friend.

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