Mixed Conditionals

To talk about situations of cause and effect in English, we use conditionals. We can use them to talk about real or unreal situations.

Usually the cause and the effect in a conditional sentence are both in the past, both in the present, or both in the future. But sometimes, these times are mixed.

For example:
  • If I had eaten breakfast this morning, I would not be hungry now.
    (I did not eat breakfast in the past, so I am hungry now.)
  • If Ellen were not sick, she would have finished the project yesterday.
    (Ellen is still sick now, so she did not finish the project in the past.)
  • If you were going to help me move next week, I would not be packing now.
    (You are not going to help me move in the future, so I am packing now.)
Mixed conditionals are more advanced because you must already feel very comfortable using real and unreal conditionals

After that, you must only decide whether each part of the sentence is in the past, present, or future and use the correct conditional. 

The best way to learn the conditionals in English is to look at lots of examples, read complete explanations and stories with examples, and write many conditional sentences of your own.

As you feel more comfortable with the grammar for each of the real and unreal conditionals, write more complex sentences that mix different times together. If the sentences are true and interesting for you, they will help you remember the grammar better!