Third Conditional – Story

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My friend called me last night. I was asleep at the time of the call. I still heard that my phone was ringing but I couldn’t get up and pick it up. In the morning, when I woke up I saw that my friend was online. We started exchanging messages. And here is our message history:

-        Why didn’t you return my call last night?           

-        I would have returned your call last night if I hadn’t been asleep.

-        Why did you go to bed so early?

-        I wouldn’t have gone to bed so early if I hadn’t been tired.

-        What did you do to be tired?

-        I wouldn’t have been tired if I hadn’t been studying so much.

-        Wow, why did you study so much?

-        I wouldn’t have studied so much if I hadn’t had an exam after 2 days.

-      Why do you reply to me in this weird way – I would have done…..if I hadn’t been….

-        I wouldn’t have replied to you in this way if I hadn’t had an English exam and I’m practicing third conditional at the moment.

-        Oh, wow, what is third conditional?

-      Third conditional is used to talk about the past and to imagine something different from what actually happened.

-        Do you mean we can use it to express regret?

-        Sure and to make up excuses :-) I’ve just made up all of these answers in order to practice the third conditional.

-        Wow :-)

-        And I want to know, why didn’t you bring me apples?

-        Now, it is my turn to make up excuses, right? :-)


************* Third conditional

If + past perfect ..., would + have + past participle

If you had called me earlier, I would have answered you.

…would + have + past participle… if + past perfect ...

I would have answered you if you had called me earlier.


If + past perfect … wouldn’t + have + past participle


Instead of would, we can use also – could, should, might


Pay attention to the pronunciation of would have – would’ve. The same goes for -  could have, should have, might have – Watch the video below!


*************Retell the story using the template:

My friend – call – last night – asleep – missed call

1.    Why, return, my call? – asleep

2.    Why, bed, early? – tired

3.    What, tired? – studying

4.    Why, studying? – exam

5.    Why, weird answers? – practicing third conditional

6.    What, third conditional?

7.    Express regrets about past?

8.    Why, apples?

9.    Make up excuses


************Should have = 'shoulda' in spoken English;

Should not have = shouldna


Practice the Third Conditional with Songs:


Pay attention that woulda is only in spoken English. In writing, we write – would have


Practice the Third Conditional with "Once Upon a Time"


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