Type 3 conditional sentences

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Type 3 conditional sentence in English
Type 3 conditional sentence in English

This lesson will help you understand what a type 3 conditional sentence is, and how and when to use it correctly.

Type 3 conditional sentence in English
Type 3 conditional sentence in English

What is a type 3 conditional sentence in English?

A type 3 conditional sentence refers to an impossible condition in the past and its probably result in the past. We are calling the condition impossible because we can’t go back into the past and change it. What we do using a conditional sentence type 3 is regret what happened or didn’t happen. We do this by laying down the condition in which the reality would have been changed in the past. These are sentence that show your complaints.

Let’s say I had a test 2 weeks ago. It was very important for my grades. But I failed it. Now, when I look back at it, I realize that it happened because of me not studying and listening to my teachers. Did I want this result? No. Can I change the result now? No to that either. But I can imagine in what situation, I would have gotten the desired result.

Reality: I didn’t study hard and listen to my teachers, and I failed the test.
Desired result: Passing the test
Condition for the desired result: If I had studied hard and listened to my teachers, I would have passed the test.

Structure:

IF clauseResult clause
Result clauseIF clause

IF Clause (condition) = If + subject + had + past participle
Result clause = subject + would + have + past participle

If you had listened to me, you would not have lost your money.

Reality: You lost your money because you did not listen to me that day. The actual past result would have been different under this condition. We are using a type 3 conditional sentence to show that we regret something that happened in the past.

If more people had watched the show, it would not have been closed.

Reality: The show got closed in the past because of not having much viewership. If the cause of the failure was reversed (imagining), the result (failure) would not have been there.

More examples:

  • If I had not gotten late, I would have picked up the bus.
  • The movie wouldn’t have flopped if it had had Steve in it.
  • I would have believed her lies if you had not showed her pictures with the man.
  • If he had taken medicines on time, he would not have died.
  • I would have joined you on the trip if you guys had informed me about it.
  • If he had not been in debt, he wouldn’t have sold his house.
  • We would have won the case if he had hired Arun for the case.
  • If I had known you all were at the park, I would have taken the day off and been there.

Sometimes, we use a type 3 conditional sentence to focus on something/someone that is directly responsible for what happened in the past. Here, you don’t regret the past; you’re just attributing it (past situation) to something that, to you, is responsible for its happening.

  • If my father hadn’t come on time, we would have been behind bars. (Giving props to my father)
  • If I had not taken classes from you, I would not have topped my class. (Giving props to you for something that happened in the past)
  • If Rahul hadn’t called the hotel management and told them we were his friends, we wouldn’t have gotten the rooms. (Giving props to you)
  • We would have overpaid for the suit if you hadn’t known the shipment. (We were able to save money because of you. Using the type 3 conditional sentence here is a way to give you praise for something good in the past.)

Here in type 3 conditional sentences, the condition clause can also be formed without IF or any other conjunction.

Condition clause (common): If + subject + had + past participle
Condition clause (alternative): Had + subject + past participle

Examples:

  • If I had completed my work on time, I would not have been thrown out of the class.
  • Alternative: Had I completed my work on time, I would not have been thrown out of the class.

The order of the clauses can be reversed without changing the meaning of the sentence, like we do in any conditional sentence or any subordinate clause.

I would not have been thrown out of the class had I completed my homework on time.

  • I would not have vacated the flat if the owner had talked to me rudely.
  • Alternative: I would not have vacated the flat had the owner not talked to me rudely.
  • If the groom had not asked for dowry, the wedding wouldn’t have been called off.
  • Alternative: Had the groom not asked for dowry, the wedding wouldn’t have been called off.
    Or
  • Alternative: The wedding wouldn’t have been called off had the groom not asked for dowry.

We can also use modal verbs in the main clause in a type 3 conditional sentence.

  • If you had told me about the plan in advance, I might have joined you guys.
  • We could have showed up at the party if the fire had not broken out.
  • I may have considered the offer had he talked to me politely.

Clauses in conditional sentences can be in the passive voice

Both clauses or either clause in a type 3 conditional sentence or any conditional sentence can be written in the passive voice.

Condition clause in the passive voice

Condition (structure): If + subject + had + been + past participle

Examples:

  • If he hadn’t been forced to quit the job, he wouldn’t have done it.
  • If I had not been given a good offer, I would have taken it.

Result clause in the passive voice

Result (structure): Subject + would + have + been + past participle

Examples:

  • Jon would have been thrown out of the class if the students hadn’t come out in his support.
  • You would have been hired had you not trashed your previous company.

Both clauses in the passive voice

Condition (structure): If + subject + had + been + past participle
Result (structure): Subject + would + have + been + past participle

Examples:

  • If I hadn’t been given some extra money by my friends, my house would have been sold.
  • All the passengers would have been killed if the terrorists had not been given what they wanted.

Negative sentences in a type 3 conditional sentence

We know that a conditional sentence comprises of two clauses. Both or either clause of the sentence can be negative.

Negative condition clause

  • If you had not slapped him, we would have gotten the offer.
  • If I hadn’t spent all my money on cars, I would have bought my own house.
  • We would have lost the match if you hadn’t played the winning knock.

We use this structure (negative condition and positive result) to attribute someone’s action to the result of the action. It could be both positive/complementary or negative. Notice that the first two clauses refer to the role of a person negatively in a past situation, and the last one refers to a positive role.

Negative result clause

  • If you had come with me, he would not have insulted me.
  • I wouldn’t have lost my money if you listened to your advice.
  • If the student hadn’t shouted at the teacher, he wouldn’t have been rusticated.

Both negative

  • If the power hadn’t gone out, we would have caught the thief.
  • If your brother hadn’t destroyed the property of the hotel, the manager wouldn’t have called the cops on him.
  • If Max hadn’t been removed from the final match, we wouldn’t have lost it.

Interrogative sentences in a type 3 conditional sentence

  • Would you have come to my party if I had sent you an invitation?
  • Would he have taken the job if we had offered him 20k more?
  • Would the doctors have saved Jon’s life if people had taken him to the hospital on time?
  • Would we have won the quiz if we had had more time?
  • If your parents hadn’t parted their ways, would you have stayed here in India?

Contractions in a type 3 conditional sentence

The subject and the verb can be contracted in both the clauses: condition and result. In the condition clause, the subject (if a subjective pronoun: I, you, we, they, he, she, it) and the auxiliary verb ‘had’ can be contracted.

Contractions in the condition clause

  • If I had listened = If I’d listened
  • If you had listened = If you’d listened
  • If we had listened = If we’d listened
  • If he had listened = If he’d listened
  • If she had listened = If she’d listened
  • If they had listened = If they’d listened
  • If I had listened = If I’d listened

Contractions in the result clause

  • I would have passed = I’d have passed
  • We would have passed = we’d have passed
  • You would have passed = you’d have passed
  • He would have passed = he’d have passed
  • She would have passed = she’d have passed
  • They would have passed = they’d have passed
  • It would have passed = it’d have passed

We, now, know what a type 3 conditional sentence is and how to use it correctly in English. Do share the post with others to help them and feel free to leave your doubt, question, or feedback in the comment section.

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