The second conditional is used to talk about things which are unlikely to happen, or to discuss ideas we have.
We also use it to discuss things which are just theoretical at the time of speaking or perhaps dreams.
If I won a million pounds, I would buy a big house (but I probably won’t win a million pounds)
If I got a new job, I would move to a different area (but I probably won’t get a new job)
If + past simple + would (+ bare infinitive)
Use the negative of the past simple and/ or the would not
If I didn't go to Brighton, I wouldn't see the sea
Create questions using the 'would' part of the structure
What would you do if I walked out now?
Where would you stay if you went to Hong Kong on business?
The use of the past simple expresses an idea of unreality…
Degrees of uncertainty can be altered by exchanging ‘would’ with ‘could’ or ‘might’.
Look at these sentences, how are they different?
If you give us a 5% discount, we will buy the product
If you gave us a 5% discount, we might buy the product
If you gave us a 5% discount, we would probably buy the product
1. making a commitment?
2. offering a possibility?
3. offering a strong possibility?
Which one uses the first conditional?
Task: read the text below, then choose the best forms.
Your boss doesn’t know what your plans for the future are, but wants to know if you intend staying with the company. You think this might work in your favour and want to discuss possibilities with her. How would you complete these sentences (remember you haven’t decided yet)?
If I was thinking / am thinking about leaving, would / will you be willing to look at my compensation package?
If I thought / think you are / were going to leave, I will / would have to think about how to keep you here.
Task: read this negotiation. Is it going to be successful?
A. We’re very interested in your offer, however there are some details we need to think about more carefully.
B. Such as?
A. We are a little concerned about the delivery dates. Can you give us some guarantees?
B. As I understand it you want 50 vehicles over 6 months. 10 in month one, then 8 per month over the rest of the 6 month period.
A. That’s right. If you could guarantee those delivery dates, we would be able to recommend the deal to our MD.
B. I’m confident that we can make the delivery dates.
A. So , would you be willing to accept a penalty clause for late delivery? If you are confident about the delivery dates, that will be no problem. You see timing is everything for us and we can’t risk not having these vehicles on time.
B. OK. So, if I agreed to a penalty clause for late delivery, you would recommend the deal to your MD?
A. I think so, yes.
B. What sort of penalty clause?
A. Enough to cover the costs of hiring a vehicle if you deliver late.
B. I understand. I’ll have to discuss that with my boss.
A. Fine, I’ll go and get a coffee and you can phone and check with him. If you get the go ahead, we’ll agree in principle.
Task: read the negotiation again. Highlight the conditional forms used.
Which are first conditional, which are second conditional?
Why do you think they are using the different forms?