Second conditional

If I had a racket, I would play tennis

How to use the second conditional

In the previous course A2 we studied the conditionals 0 and 1. So it’s time to move to the 2nd and 3rd. Ready?

So a grammar book will say:

The second conditional is a type of conditional sentence in English that is used to describe a hypothetical situation or a possible future event that is dependent on a certain condition. The second conditional is often used to talk about uncertain or unlikely events, as well as to express wishes or desires. It can also be used to make suggestions or to give advice.

It is formed using the past simple tense in the “if” clause and the present simple tense in the main clause.

Here’s the basic structure of the second conditional:

If + past simple + would + verb in present

🧘🏽Here’s a trick, a mantra for you to repeat: if, past, would,

Say it several times: if past would, if past would, if past would, if past would, if past would, if past would, if past would, if past would, if past would, if past would…

Take a look at these examples: If you are Spanish, this structure is familiar.

If I won the lottery, I would buy a house. Si ganara la lotería, compraría una casa.
If I had a racket, I would play tennis. Si tuviera una raqueta, jugaría al tenis.
If I were you, I would take the job. Si fuera tú, aceptaría el trabajo.
If I knew the answer, I would tell you. Si supiera la respuesta, te la diría.
If I could speak Chinese, I would study in China. Si pudiera hablar chino, estudiaría en China.
If I had a car, I would drive you to the airport. Si tuviera un coche, te llevaría al aeropuerto.

⭐ Want more? Check out this short course about the 1st and 2nd conditional.