Grammar 5-05 | Intermediate | CEFR B2

Second Conditional

Gary and Jill are dreaming about being rich one quiet Sunday afternoon.

Gary: Hey Jill, if you were rich, like so rich you never had to worry about money ever, what would you do?

Jill: Hmm. If I were that rich, I would buy a nice house by the sea. I love the coast. And I would travel the world. I would visit every country in the world. How about you?

Gary: To be honest, I don’t really know, but I would give a lot of money to my parents. They are old and they have worked so hard all of their lives. Apart from that, yeah, well, traveling sounds good, yeah. I would love to do that. The rest, I’m not so sure.

Jill: Yeah, well, it’s time to get back down to earth now and stop dreaming. Tomorrow is another day at work and that ain’t going to make either of us rich.

Gary: Yeah, that's true. Better get on with it then.

Second Conditional - Grammar Notes

Point 1: The second conditional refers to the future, when there is little chance of the action happening.
  • What would you do if you won the lottery?
  • I would quit my job. What would you do?
  • I would move to the beach.
  • I would do that too if I could swim!
Point 2: The 'if' clause can start the sentence or come at the end of the independent clause.
  1. I would be very happy if I saw a full eclipse.
  2. If I saw a full eclipse, I would be very happy.
  3. If I were tall, I would try out for the basketball team.
  4. I would try out for the basketball team if I were tall.
Point 3: Instead of would in affirmative sentences, you can use 'd instead.
  1. I'd be very happy if I saw a full eclipse.
  2. If you saved your money, you'd be rich.
  3. If they came to class more often, they'd pass.
  4. If we practiced more, we'd be pretty good.
Point 4: We can use 'could' instead of 'would'.
  1. I could travel the world if I were a billionaire.
  2. If I spoke Spanish, I could work in Costa Rica.
  3. If you tried harder, you could get an A in the class.
  4. If you saved your money, you could afford to travel.
Answer the following questions about the interview.