#128 - Present Unreal Conditionals - English Grammar

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Present Unreal Conditionals

Present unreal conditionals are also known as second conditionals. The present unreal conditional expresses a hypothetical situation. Hypothetical means not real or being in an imagined situation. Present unreal conditionals indicate if this happened, that would occur. But in reality, the event or action did not occur.

Present Unreal Conditionals

Present unreal conditionals make hypothetical statements then show what would happen in such situations. Sentences use "if" to make a hypothetical statement then expresses a hypothetical end result. "If" can be used to start off a sentence or be used to join two clauses. Only "if" is used with present unreal conditionals because it is describing a hypothetical or imaginary situation. You cannot use "when" in these sentences.

Also in present unreal conditionals, the "be" verb in past tense "were" is used instead of "was" even with "I", "he", "she", or "it". It is grammatically incorrect to use "was" in these sentences.

If + simple past clause (hypothetical condition)Would + verb (hypothetical result)
Would + verb (hypothetical result)If + simple past clause (hypothetical condition)

  • If I had a lot of money, I would buy a mansion.
  • I would buy a mansion if I had a lot of money.
  • If I were a millionaire, I would donate to many charities.
  • I would donate to many charities if I were a millionaire.
  • If I were married, I would live in the suburbs.
  • I would live in the suburbs if I were married.
  • If I owned a car, I would drive to work.
  • I would drive to work if I owned a car.

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