The 3rd conditional is probably the least common form of the conditional as it is a way to express a change of the past. This, of course, is impossible so it is, of course, a hypothetical tense.

 

The form of the third conditional:

 

Third (3RD) conditional: If + subject + past perfect + modal perfect

We use the 3rd conditional for a hypothetical past.

e.g. If I had saved more money last year, I would have gone to Bali on holiday.

 

Word order change:

If I had saved more money last year, I would have gone to Bali on holiday.

I would have gone to Bali on holiday if I had saved more money last year.             NO COMMA

 

Change would for (could, might):

e.g. If I had saved more money last year, I would have gone to Bali on holiday.

e.g. If I had saved more money last year, I could have gone to Bali on holiday.

 

Rephrasing examples:

I failed the exam because I did not study enough.

HAVE

I ______ failed the exam If I had studied more.

Answer: would not have

 

Example speaking questions with the third conditional:

  1. If you had gone to university, what would you have studied?
  2. If you had been born in the USA, would you have moved to another country when Donald Trump was elected?
  3. Could you have got better grades at school if you had gone to a private school?
  4. Would you have become a profesional athlete if you had had enough talent?
  5. Would you have tried to learn Spanish if you had not been born here in Spain?
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