Conditionals and modals

One last thing about conditionals. Sometimes the 1st, 2nd and 3rd conditionals are given nicknames:

1st conditional “If… will…” : “If you grow taller you will be a model.”

 

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2nd conditional “If… would” : “If you were taller you would be a model!”

2.png
3rd conditional “If… would have” : “If you had been taller you would have been a model!”
3.png

 

If those nicknames help you remember that’s great. But you don’t have to use will/would/would have in those main clauses. You can use any modal, such as can/ could / could have, may/ might/ might have, won’t/ wouldn’t/ wouldn’t have etc…

 

modals_1.png

 

I’ll briefly talk about the differences in those main modals:

“If you were taller you would be a model” the speaker thinks this is very likely. Close to 100% chance.

“If you were taller you wouldn’t be a model” the speaker thinks this is very unlikely. Close to 0% chance

“If you were taller you might be a model” the speaker thinks it could happen, but the chance is not very high or low. Around 50% chance, but could be higher or lower.

 

modals_2.png

 

“If you were taller you could be a model” the speaker thinks this is possible. That’s all. They are not commenting on the chance or likelihood at all.

“Even if you were taller you couldn’t be a model” again, there is no need to think about probability, the speaker thinks it is impossible.