The Unreal Conditional
Present Unreal Conditional
The present unreal conditional is used to express a present (or future) condition. We call it unreal
because it tells us what would happen or how things would be if the situation were different:
The present unreal conditional is made up of an if-clause (if I had...) plus a main clause with
would (I would visit).
The form of the verb in the if-clause is the same as the past tense form of the verb. There is one exception, though: the verb be takes were for all persons:
I am / if I were
You are / if you were
He is / if he were.
Past Unreal Conditional
The past unreal conditional consists of two clauses, an if clause and a would clause.
The if-clause refers to an unreal past event or condition:
The would clause describes the consequence:
An unreal past condition may have a consequence in either the present or the past.