The third conditional (also called conditional type 3) is a structure used for talking about unreal situations in the past. This page will explain how the third conditional is formed, and when to use it.
The structure of a third conditional sentenceLike the other conditionals, a third conditional sentence consists of two clauses, an "if" clause and a main clause:
If the "if" clause comes first, a comma is usually used. If the "if" clause comes second, there is no need for a comma:
We use different verb forms in each part of a third conditional:
*The past perfect is formed with the auxiliary verb "had", and the past participle (or third form) of the verb.
Note also that third conditional forms can be contracted:
Using the third conditionalThe third conditional is used to talk about things which DID NOT HAPPEN in the past. If your native language does not have a similar construction, you may find this a little strange, but it can be very useful. It is often used to express criticism or regret: