Marion Worsley Marion Worsley

The Third Conditional
Upper Intermediate level


In this lesson the students will review and clarify any misunderstandings in the use of The Third Conditional. They will practice the different ways the TL can be used and put it into practice through discussion, writing and conversation with their peers.


Main Aims

  • To clarify and review any misunderstandings in the use of The Third Conditional.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To improve their fluency and ability to use The Third conditional through speaking practice/ production and error correction.


Exposure (8-10 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation

On WB - "If the woman had shot the men, she’d have been in serious trouble." To establish that the 3rd conditional is an imaginary situation in the past. Did the woman shoot the men? No Did she get into serious trouble? No Is this in the present or in the past? In the past Is this a real or imaginary situation No Did any of this ever happen No A sentence with IF is a conditional. Which Conditional? Third Conditional Definition: The third conditional describes an imaginary past situation and its imaginary consequences/ result. English expression "So many Ifs" To express regret on something that never happened. To establish clarification in the grammatical structure. Are there 2 parts in this sentence ? Yes What do we call the different parts? Clauses Which clause is the Main Clause? she’d have been in serious trouble. Which is the If Clause? If the woman had shot the men Which verb form is in the If Clause? Past Perfect Which verb form is in the Main Clause? Have + Past participle Underline and write the form of the sentence, as the answers are elicited. Conditional (if) + Subject (woman) + Past Perfect (had shot) + Subject (she) + would (‘d/ contraction) + Have + Past participle. The main clause is also called the Result clause. The conditional "IF" can be replaced with Imagine or Suppose.

Clarification (8-10 minutes) • To clarify some more specific points linked to grammar which might be problematic.

Hand-out Exercise 1. Students first discuss in pairs and then as a whole class. What Modal verbs can we use in the main clause to mean "would perhaps."? Could/Might: If the men had not run away, she could have killed them. If it had been me, I might have left a note on the car. Is the If clause always first in a sentence? No. Watch out No comma after If. What would the owner of the car have done if he'd seen him? How do we make a question from the 3rd conditional? What would the owner of the car have done if he’d seen him? Question word (What) + would + Subject (the owner of the car) + Have + Past participle (done) + If + subject (he) + Past perfect simple ( had seen/ ‘d seen).

Pre Speaking (2-3 minutes) • Clarify the use of contraction of I would/ I had, and its confusion.

Contraction. What is the contraction of I would? I'd. She'd, we'd etc. What is the contraction of I I had? I'd She'd, we'd etc. WB: If I'd shot the men, I'd have been in serious trouble. Which is which? I had/ I would. Try the same sentence with We. Can you see that some people might be confused?

Speaking and pronunciation (3-4 minutes) • To gain speaking fluency with sentences in the third conditional.

Drill and clarify the following sentences. Notice the contractions ( I’d, you’d etc.) and the weak forms of have and had. Sound confusion of the weak form of "Have" and the word "of". If I’d known about it, I’d have /əv/ come. If you’d told me, I could have /əv/ helped you. She wouldn’t have /əv/ been upset if you’d called her. If Fred had /əd/studied harder he might have past. Get the students to practice the sentences in pairs. Exercise 2.

Semi-Controlled Practice (5-7 minutes) • To concept check further and prepare students for free practice

Hand-out work sheet. Exercise 3. Work in pairs and check some answers with the whole class.

Productive skills. Writing and Speaking (8-10 minutes) • Semi controlled practice to encourage the use of the 3rd Conditional, written and spoken, by personalising the context and making it more real and interesting for the students.

Exercise 4 Individually: a) Make notes on 3 interesting things that have happened in your life. Write them in the order they happened. 1998 -passed my medical exams
2002 -met Pedro at my cousin 's wedding b) Make third conditionals to describe how life would have been different if these things hadn't happened. If I'd failed my medical exams, I might have become a teacher. In Pairs: Take turns to tell each other about the things you wrote and ask follow-up questions if possible.

Feedback and error correction. (2-3 minutes) • To highlight any residual common mistakes over heard in the previous speaking exercise.

Note down any recurring and common mistakes overheard in the previous speaking exercise. Write on WB and elicit corrections from students.

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