Song (2nd Conditional)

A good song to introduce the 2nd conditional is Beyonce's "If I were a Boy" - find exercises

Chain of events

  • Give the class (or group) an if clause. E.g. If I won a million dollars. One students suggests a possible result. E.g. If I had a million dollars, I would buy a yacht.
  • Next student takes result and reforms it into a condition and forms a new result. E.g. if I bought a yacht, I'd go for a sail.
  • And so on.
  • Students can do this orally or each student writes one and passes it on.

Examples of sentences to start
  • If I won a million dollars,
  • If I was ill tomorrow
  • If the car had been going faster,
  • If you kissed me
  • If I lost all my money
  • If I were invisible
  • If I could speak English well
  • If I were braver
  • If I was better looking
  • If we finish early today

Tip: If a class is big, divide it into two teams and make them create their stories simultaneously, taking turns. It will be more fun if both teams have the same beginning.

Students complete sentences in groups

Then discuss as a class what were the most interesting endings you heard. And who remembers what Student X would do if...

  • If I go away on holiday this year...
  • If I lose all my money...
  • If we finish early today...
  • We will be very happy if...
  • I will be rather disappointed if...
  • Will you help me if...

  • If I lost all my money...
  • If I won the lottery...
  • If I were invisible...
  • If you loved me...
  • I would eat my hat if...
  • We would be very ill if...
  • My friend would give me a kiss if...
  • If I went to live in another country...
  • If you came to visit me in my country...
  • Would you help me if...
  • I would be the happiest person alive if...
  • ... I'd scream loudly
  • ... you'd be sorry
  • ...I'd take off my clothes off in a public place
  • ...I'd live in a tent
  • If I were a millionaire...

If only (2nd conditional)

Write three wishes
  • I wish I were very rich
  • I wish I were good at sports
  • I wish I could speak English well

Write at least one reason for each wish using 2nd conditional
  • If I were rich, I wouldn't need to work
  • If I were good at sports, I would be in good shape
  • If I spoke English well, I would be to study in Australia

Share wishes and reasons with your group.

Justify actions (2nd conditional)

Students must think of moral and reasonable reasons why they would do certain things
  • - jump out of a window (if house was on fire)
  • - steal money
  • - deliberatively break glass
  • - pretend to be someone else
  • - take off all your clothes in a public place
  • - jump off the top of a cliff
  • - set fire to your house
  • - cheat in an exam
  • - paint yourself green / dye your hair green
  • - stop talking for a day

Promises promises (1st conditional)

  • Say that you have a million pounds to give someone (you could show them a few pretend 'banknotes') and you will give it to the person who persuades you the best.
  • Teach them the sentence structure: “If you give me a million pounds, I’ll …” and then let the learners take it in turns to try and persuade you.
  • Award the 'cash' to the best or funniest or most imaginative promise.

Looking back (3rd conditional)

Write 3 things you regret (things done or not done) and 3 things you are glad about.

Things I regret.
  • I did not go to university.
  • I never knew my grandmother.

Things I am glad about
  • I came here to study English.
  • I was one of a big family.

Write what would have happened if things were different.
  • If I'd gone to university, I would have a better job.
  • If I hadn't come here to study English, I would have missed out on making good friends.

Source: Several different sources including here on One Stop English public site