Second, third and mixed conditionals discussion questions

Student A

1. What would you have done if you had been the leader of the country during…?

2. What would your second choice for a university or degree subject have been? How would your life be different now if you had done that instead?

3. What would you have done in your last holiday if time, money etc had been no limit? How could that have changed your life?

4. How would your life have been different if you had been born a girl/ boy?

5. How would your country be different if someone different had won the last election?

6. If you could change one thing about your body or personality, what would it be?

7. What would you do if you knew that the world was going to be hit by a comet and destroyed in one week?

8. How would you have made … a success rather than a failure?

9. What things could make you emigrate?

10. What would you do if you saw a UFO?

11. If you could change three things about the world today, what would you change?

12. How would you have designed your city/ your office building/ this building differently?

13. What object would you choose to be buried with (if practical things like size weren’t important)?

14. If your house was on fire and you could only take one object, which would it be?


Second, third and mixed conditionals discussion questions

Student B

1. Would you have done the same if you had been… during the time of…?

2. Would you have invested in the moon landings, or would you have saved the money for things down here on earth? What might you have spent it on, and what would the results have been?

3. What university or degree subject would you have chosen if you could have done absolutely anything? How would that have changed your life?

4. How would your life have been different if your parents had given you a different name?

5. How would the world be different if nuclear weapons had never been invented?

6. If you could know the exact time and date of your death, would you want to?

7. If you could have any super power – for example, the ability to fly, or to be very strong, or to become invisible – which super power would you choose? Why? What would you do with this power?

8. If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you?

9. If someone offered you $1,000,000 to take naked pictures of you and put them on the Internet, would you do it?

10. If you could save one hundred monkeys by killing one person, would you do it?

11. If you had a time machine and could travel to three times in history, which times would you want to visit, and why?

12. If you had $50000 and you had to spend it within 24 hours, what would you do?

13. If you could buy anything in the world (but just one thing), what would it be?

14. If you could choose which three objects to take with you to a desert island, what would you take?


PDF version for easy saving and printing: 2nd 3rd conditional discussions

More materials: Conditionals worksheets index page

Mixed conditionals page

Discussion questions page

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10 Responses to Second, third and mixed conditionals discussion questions

  1. Sure, why not!? says:

    How the hell you ask a student if he/she would take naked pictures of him/herself and post them on the net???

  2. alexcase says:

    The answer is simple – you don’t. The students ask each other if they want to, or if they don’t want to they just ask each other different questions. Works fine with all kinds of taboo questions. I should perhaps point out that I’m only talking about adults…

  3. D Walker says:

    It is not that the criticism is without a point but it is tricky and so easy to fall into a trap – especially when there are cultural sensibilities involved – and political correctness is quite a thing these days but having said that, Alex, I think you provide dynamic and amazing ways to help people explore languages- I used one of your exercises today on the first conditional regarding election promises – it worked really well so thank you –

  4. alexcase says:

    Thanks for your comment. I’m also quite willing to accept that the commenter might not want that question in their class, but of course it is impossible for me to predict what might be suitable for every teacher and not even my job – if it isn’t suitable they should just change it before using it, which as a teacher is their job…

  5. Paula B says:

    Alex is right, he´s providing us with a great source of ideas, and each teacher has to take the time to go through the questions and plan their class appropriately. We hate when our students cut and paste, don´t we? Thanks Alex!

  6. Why is this sentence correct?

    If you didn’t do much math at school you will find economics difficult.

  7. alexcase says:

    It means “Not having done much maths at school will make studying economics difficult (if that is the case)” or “People who didn’t study much maths at school will find economics difficult”.

  8. Manaswi dongre says:


  9. Rosalinda Apodaca says:

    First, thank you for your page, great help. I’m confused, with the sentence “If you didn’t do much math, you will find economics difficult” actually is the grammar structure,( i get the meaning), conditional sentence is past tense, the result in future, is this correct? A past tense conditional goes with “would” as a possibility??? or is this sentence more than a saying then conditional. Thank you again.

  10. alexcase says:

    There’s no special name for that combination, which is why we use the very general term “mixed conditionals” for all the many combinations that get used which don’t fit the zero, first, second, third categories. The first part is kind of like the past of zero conditional, e.g. “If I didn’t do my homework, my father shouted at me” being the past of “If I don’t do my homework, my father shouts at me”. The second part is a normal prediction meaning of “will”, as in “I will probably go bald well before I retire”

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