The past conditional


if + Simple Past, main clause with Conditional I (= would + Infinitive)

Example: If I found her address, I would send her an invitation.

The main clause can also be at the beginning of the sentence. In this case, don't use a comma.

Example: I would send her an invitation if I found her address.

Note: Main clause and / or if clause might be negative. See Simple Past und Conditional I on how to form negative sentences.

Example: If I had a lot of money, I wouldn’t stay here.

Were instead of Was

In IF Clauses Type II, we usually use ‚were‘ – even if the pronoun is I, he, she or it –.

Example: If I were you, I would not do this.



Conditional Sentences Type II refer to situations in the present. An action could happen if the present situation were different. I don't really expect the situation to change, however. I just imagine „what would happen if …“

Example: If I found her address, I would send her an invitation.

I would like to send an invitation to a friend. I have looked everywhere for her address, but I cannot find it. So now I think it is rather unlikely that I will eventually find her address.

Example: If John had the money, he would buy a Ferrari.

I know John very well and I know that he doesn't have much money, but he loves Ferraris. He would like to own a Ferrari (in his dreams). But I think it is very unlikely that he will have the money to buy one in the near future.