But let's imagine that it 10 really important for you to get home soon.
What would you do? After as if and as though As if and as though have the same meaning: that something seems or appears in a certain way. In the two sentences above, we think think there is a real possibility, so we use real tenses for the second verb. We do this especially with verbs like seem, appear, and verbs of the senses like look, sound, taste and smell. But if we think the comparison is unreal, we can use an unreal past tense. To talk about a past condition with a present result, we can use a perfect tense; present perfect real for a probable situation, past perfect unreal for a less likely situation:.
If we use the first verb is in the past, the second verb is also in the past in both real and unreal situations, so we can only work it out from context. Exercise 4 - Fill the gaps with verbs from the box in a suitable form, using real or unreal tenses as appropriate. Use negative contractions, e. Where you have a choice between was and were , you can use either. Unreal Past and the subjunctive. The Subjunctive is a set of verb forms known as a 'mood'. The most commonly accepted moods in English are:. The Present Subjunctive is not used much in British English, and is considered rather formal.
In any case, we are not concerned with it here, as we are talking about the use of unreal past verb forms. If you are interested, I've written about it in some depth here. Traditional grammar talks about using the Past Subjunctive for these hypothetical or unreal situations we've been talking about, but there are two problems with this approach:. For these reasons, EFL books usually refer to the Unreal Past, which includes both Subjunctive Past and Indicative Past, and usually only refer to the Subjunctive when its form varies from that of the Indicative.
In all the constructions we've looked at so far, we can use the Subjunctive were or the Indicative was. In spoken English, was is more common and were is usually seen as more formal, especially in British English. In American English, were seems to be used rather more often.
In all the constructions we've looked at so far, we can use the Indicative was or the Subjunctive were. Here's some practice with the Subjunctive:. If you are interested in the debate about the use of was instead of were , I've written a post here on the subject. It's time This construction is often included in Unreal Past, but it's a little different from the others.
It is not so much about a hypothetical situation as to what we think should happen. Note that we only use this expression with the Indicative Past, not the Subjunctive Past. Exercise 6 - Rewrite the sentences, starting with ' It's '. Each sentence should include the word time and any words given in brackets.
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Don't add any punctuation. The children should be in bed.
Shouldn't we be going soon? You should get a haircut soon. She should be financially independent by now.
They should be here, shouldn't they? We should start thinking about our holidays. We should have the birthday cake now. I should be getting ready to go soon. Were to The use of were to instead of a standard past tense suggests that the event is even less likely, or the consequences of the event would be rather bad.
The were to construction is often thought of as a type of Subjunctive, but was is sometimes used here instead of were. According to GrammarGirl , who is pretty strict on the use of the Subjunctive were in unreal conditionals, and who definitely would not have approved of 'If I was prime minister' , we can use the Indicative was to when the situation is probable or real, giving this example:. Exercise 7 - Fill each gap with were to and one of the verbs in the box in a suitable form.
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It is followed by a noun, a noun phrase, a pronoun or a gerund. As usual with Unreal Past, Past Simple - either Indicative was informal or Subjunctive were formal - is used for present situations, and Past Perfect for past situations. The result clause follows the normal Conditional pattern. Exercise 8 - Complete each sentence with one word. Contractions such as didn't count as one word. In a couple of cases you are given the number of letters the word has.
Second Conditional – Espresso English
I'd come and join you if it wasn't for all work I have to do. If it been for Auntie Maisie, we would never have known he'd gone abroad. If it weren't for the that I have to resit my exam, I could have been having a nice relaxed summer.
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Had it been for his father's insistence, he would never have chosen the law as a career. We'd never have been able to it if it hadn't been for your mother's generosity. He would quite a good lawyer if it wasn't for his short temper. Putting it all together Exercise 9 - Complete each sentence with one word. Negative contractions such as didn't count as one word. If there's a choice between was and were , you can use either. I'd rather you to see us in the afternoon.
We'll be out in the morning. If only you been so rude to her. I just wish you occasionally help me with the housework. We would never have met if I decided to go for a coffee that day. Supposing you prime minister, what's the first thing you would you do? If only we afford a new car; this one's falling to pieces. I'd prefer if you didn't smoke in my car, if you don't mind. Good work!
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