Type 2 Conditional | Second Conditional

Here we use a simple past in the if-clause and would + infinitive (bare form of the verb) in the result clause.

The type 2 conditional refers to present and future situations. It is used to talk about unreal – impossible, improbable or imaginary – situations. It refers to an unlikely or hypothetical condition and its probable result.

Type 1 or type 2 – What to use?

Real and imaginary situations

The type 1 conditional is often called the real conditional. It is used for real and possible situations. The type 2 conditional is used for unreal – impossible, improbable or imaginary – situations.


Direct requests and suggestions

In direct request or suggestions we use type 1 conditional. To make a request or suggestion more polite, we use type 2 conditional.


The Type 2 Conditional – Alternate forms

Modals in the result clause

We can use could in the result clause to mean would be able to.

Might can be used in the result clause to mean would perhaps or would possibly.

Were to

If can be followed by ‘subject + were to‘ to suggest that we are talking about an imaginary condition.

If it were not for

This structure is used to say that one event depends on another for completion.


Supposing is used in place of if to emphasize the imaginary. It is more commonly used in everyday speech.