Monday, April 28, 2014

Phonetic symbols for English:

This is the standard set of phonemic symbols for English (RP and similar accents).
pen, copy, happen
back, baby, job
tea, tight, button
day, ladder, odd
key, clock, school
get, giggle, ghost
church, match, nature
judge, age, soldier
fat, coffee, rough, photo
view, heavy, move
thing, author, path
this, other, smooth
soon, cease, sister
zero, music, roses, buzz
ship, sure, national
pleasure, vision
hot, whole, ahead
more, hammer, sum
nice, know, funny, sun
ring, anger, thanks, sung
light, valley, feel
right, wrong, sorry, arrange
yet, use, beauty, few
wet, one, when, queen
(glottal stop)
department, football
kit, bid, hymn, minute
dress, bed, head, many
trap, bad
lot, odd, wash
strut, mud, love, blood
foot, good, put
fleece, sea, machine
face, day, break
price, high, try
choice, boy
goose, two, blue, group
goat, show, no
mouth, now
near, here, weary
square. fair, various
start, father
thought, law, north, war
poor, jury, cure
nurse, stir, learn, refer
about, common, standard
happy, radiate. glorious
thank you, influence, situation
suddenly, cotton
middle, metal
(stress mark)

Word class membership:

Although the caption above may give the impression that any one word within a single meaning belongs exclusively to one word class, you should note that this is not the case. Study the words in bold in the following examples:
·         I could not give her an immediate answer.
·         I was surprised when he answered my letter.
·         Do not write on the front of the answer sheet.
·         In the first sentence, answer is being used as a noun – note the attributive adjective immediate and the word an, both indicative of a following noun.
·         In the second, answer is a verb – the subject he and the ending –ed­ show this.
·         While in the third, answer tells you what kind of sheet is being talked about and is, therefore, an adjective.

This flexibility in word class membership is a peculiar feature of English among the European languages, many of which would require different endings to show the class of the word.

Some words belong to more than one part of speech. We can’t know what part of speech a word is until we see what work it is doing in a sentence. A word can do different jobs in different sentences. 

Look at the following sentences. 

1. Give me some water. 
2. They water the plants daily. 

In the first sentence the word WATER names something. So it is a noun. 
In the second sentence the same word WATER expresses an action. It tells what they do. Here it is a verb. 

Study the word FAST in the following sentences. 

1. He didn’t take anything during the fast. (It names something. So it is a noun.) 
2. Muslims FAST during Ramazan. (It expressess an action. It tells what Muslims do. So, it is a verb.) 
3. I missed the FAST train. (It adds to the meaning of the noun train. What kind of a train? A fast train. So, it is an adjective.) 
4. She speaks fast. (It adds to the meaning of the verb SPEAKS and tells how she speaks. So, it is an adverb.) 
The word FAST is a noun in 1, a verb in 2, an adjective in 3 and an adverb in 4. 

Here are further examples. 
We flew above the clouds. (Preposition) 
Have you read the above sentence? (Adjective) 
See above. (Adverb) 

I have a pain in the back. (Noun) 
I will come back in five minutes. (Adverb) 
Have you closed the back door? (Adjective) 
He backed his car through the gate. (Verb) 

This watch is better than that. (Adjective) 
He singes better than you. (Adverb) 
You should respect your betters. (Noun) 
Living conditions have bettered a great deal. (Verb) 

The little girl feels down. (Adverb) 
He ran down the hill. (Preposition) 
We caught the down train. (Adjective) 
The government downed the opposition. (Verb) 

Children like sweets. (Verb) 
He climbs like a cat. (Preposition) 
You won’t see his like again. (Noun) 
Tashi and his brother are very like. (Adjective) 

He lives near the station. (Preposition) 
Most of my near relatives live abroad. (Adjective) 
He got nervous as the examinations neared. (Verb) 
I went near enough to see over it. (Adverb) 

You are quite right. (Adjective) 
Keep to the right. (Noun) 
Go right to the end of the road. (Adverb) 
They were able to right the boat. (Verb) 

The earth is round. (Adjective) 
The boys ran round the tree. (Preposition) 
Will you come round to our house this evening? (Adverb) 
We won the first round of the tennis cup. (Noun) 
The child’s eyes rounded with excitement. (Verb) 

Up : 
You should stand up when the teacher comes in. (adverb) 
He climbed up the hill. (Preposition) 
What time is the next up train? (Adjective) 
He hit the ball on the up. (Noun) 

Verbs in English grammar:

The verb is central to the English clause and that it is a word which describes an 'action' of some sort. But there are also other types of verbs. Would you, for example, categorize become, smell, resemble and possess as 'action' verbs? Clearly we need a more accurate and extended definition of a verb so that we can identify this word class with more precision.

One common classification of the main types of verb is given below with examples:

·         Activity: play, speak, run, telephone, bathe, organize, read, raise, look at, listen to, refuse, and scratch. The vast majorities of verbs are included in this class and are what we normally understand an 'action' word to be.

·         Process: ripen, change, strengthen, grow, deteriorate, become, die, go, come, and fall. This class of verbs is used to indicate a change from one state to another.

·         Sensation: hurt, ache, sting, smart, and itch. This is a small class of verbs that are used to refer to bodily sensations.

·         Momentary: knock, beat, tap, nod, hop, and jump. These verbs, although closely related to the first category, have a shorter duration of action.

·         Cognition: know, remember, perceive, prefer, want, forget, and understand. These verbs have less to do with an overt action since they involve mental or cognitive processes.

·         Perception: see, smell, feel, taste, hear. This small class of verbs is closely linked with verbs of cognition, but centre on the senses rather than cerebral activity.

·         Relational: be, consist of, own, have, seem, resemble, appear, sound, look (good), belong to. This category of verbs is used to connect two closely related concepts, usually either through equivalence or possession.

These seven categories cover, by and large, the main verb types in English and also constitute the sub-classes of a broader grammatical division of verbs into dynamic verbs and stative verbs. In the list above, categories 1 to 4 consist of dynamic verbs, while 5 to 7 contain stative verbs. Let's look at a few examples to illustrate what is meant by the dynamic/stative contrast.

Study the following pairs of sentences:

·         1. I stay with friends every year.
·         2. I am staying with friends at the moment.
·         3. He eats sandwiches for lunch.
·         4. He is eating a sandwich.
·         5. We listen to Radio 1 in the morning.
·         6. We are listening to Radio 1.
All of the sentences contain dynamic verbs taken from category 1 in the list above. The odd numbered sentences are all examples of the Present Simple tense which, in these cases, indicates an activity that occurs with regular frequency, namely every year, every lunchtime, and every morning. The even numbered sentences, however, limit the time of the activity to the moment of speaking and are therefore temporary in nature. The verbs are, therefore in the Present Continuous tense. Dynamic verbs, then, can be found in both simple and continuous tenses.
Now look at the following pairs of sentences which contain stative verbs taken from categories 5 to 7:
·         I want to go home.
·         *I am wanting to go home.
·         We all love chocolate.
·         *We are all loving chocolate.
·         This bag belongs to me.
·         *This bag is belonging to me.

The first sentence of each pair, with the Present Simple tense is grammatically acceptable, but the second sentence of each pair is not. As a general rule, then, stative verbs are not found with the continuous tenses, but there are specific times when most of the stative verbs can be used with a continuous tense. However, these situations are limited to specific uses or entail a change in the basic meaning of the verb, for example: I think you're right and I'm thinking of you. In the first example I am giving you my opinion and so the verb refers to cognition, whereas in the second, the thinking is much more akin to an activity. You will probably find that this kind of distinction can be made for most of those stative verbs that can be used with both simple and continuous tenses.

Main Verbs (Lexical Verbs):

Main verbs have meaning on their own (unlike helping verbs). There are thousands of main verbs, and we can classify them in several ways:

Transitive and intransitive verbs

A transitive verb takes a direct object: Somebody killed the President. An intransitive verb does not have a direct object: He died. Many verbs, like speak, can be transitive or intransitive. Look at these examples:
  • I saw an elephant.
  • We are watching TV.
  • He speaks English.
  • He has arrived.
  • John goes to school.
  • She speaks fast.
Linking verbs
A linking verb does not have much meaning in itself. It "links" the subject to what is said about the subject. Usually, a linking verb shows equality (=) or a change to a different state or place (>). Linking verbs are always intransitive (but not all intransitive verbs are linking verbs).
  • Sarah is a teacher. (Mary = teacher)
  • Pauline is beautiful. (Tara = beautiful)
  • That sounds interesting. (that = interesting)
  • The sky became dark. (the sky > dark)
  • The bread has gone bad. (bread > bad)
Dynamic and stative verbs:

Some verbs describe action. They are called "dynamic", and can be used with continuous tenses. Other verbs describe state (non-action, a situation). They are called "stative", and cannot normally be used with continuous tenses (though some of them can be used with continuous tenses with a change in meaning).
Dynamic verbs (examples):
  • hit, explode, fight, run, go
Stative verbs (examples):
  • be
  • like, love, prefer, wish
  • impress, please, surprise
  • hear, see, sound
  • belong to, consist of, contain, include, need
  • appear, resemble, seem
Regular and irregular verbs:

This is more a question of vocabulary than of grammar. The only real difference between regular and irregular verbs is that they have different endings for their past tense and past participle forms. For regular verbs, the past tense ending and past participle ending is always the same: -ed. For irregular verbs, the past tense ending and the past participle ending is variable, so it is necessary to learn them by heart.

Regular verbs: base, past tense, past participle
  • look, looked, looked
  • work, worked, worked
Irregular verbs: base, past tense, past participle
  • buy, bought, bought
  • cut, cut, cut
  • do, did, done
Regular Verbs:

·         English regular verbs change their form very little (unlike irregular verbs). The past tense and past participle of regular verbs end in -ed, for example:
·         work, worked, worked
·         But you should note the following points:
·         1. Some verbs can be both regular and irregular, for example:
·         learn, learned, learned
 learnt, learnt
·         2. Some verbs change their meaning depending on whether they are regular or irregular, for example "to hang":

hang, hanged, hanged
to kill or die, by dropping with a rope around the neck
hang, hung, hung
to fix something (for example, a picture) at the top so that the lower part is free
3. The present tense of some regular verbs is the same as the past tense of some irregular verbs:

found, founded, founded
find, found, found

Irregular Verbs:

Irregular verbs are an important feature of English. We use irregular verbs a lot when speaking, less when writing. Of course, the most famous English verb of all, the verb "to be", is irregular.
What is the difference between regular verbs and irregular verbs?

Base Form
Past Simple
Past Participle
With regular verbs, the rule is simple...
The past simple and past participle always end in -ed:
But with irregular verbs, there is no rule...
Sometimes the verb changes completely:
Sometimes there is "half" a change:
Sometimes there is no change:

One good way to learn irregular verbs is to try sorting them into groups, as above.

How is the verb incorporated into larger grammatical structures, and how is its meaning and function extended?

The Verb Phrase:

The following sentences help to illustrate the possible range of structures in the English verb phrase (in bold).
·         I play the piano.
·         The family left early.
·         He is talking rubbish.
·         Sarah can sing opera.
·         We used to have kippers for breakfast.
·         I have been painting the lounge.
·         We might be seeing each other next week.
·         You should have been watching the baby.
·         The wallet might have been lost at the party.
·         The report must have been being prepared by the boss.

From these examples we can see that there may be up to four, possibly even five, separate words in the verb phrase of a clause and they all have a particular part to play in the overall meaning.
So, what are the individual elements of the verb phrase and how does each of them contribute to the meaning? Let's first analyze some of the sentences above as an illustration:


auxiliary verb

auxiliary verb(s)

Main verb


the piano.
have been
the house.
have been
the baby.
You will notice that the various parts of the verb phrase have been divided into two main categories: auxiliary verbs and main verb. The former has been further sub-divided into modal auxiliary and primary auxiliary.

You may also have noticed that there are a number of different possible configurations of these elements; e.g. main verb only, modal auxiliary plus main verb, one primary auxiliary plus main verb, two primary auxiliaries plus main verb and so on. However, the only indispensable element of the verb phrase is the main verb, because it is here that the basic, unchanging meaning of the verb phrase lies.

What's an auxiliary verb?

Besides acting as the main verb of a sentence, verbs are also helpful in a number of other ways, which are not so obvious. There are also auxiliary or 'helping' verbs that are used in a variety of ways. The main auxiliary verbs are be, have and do.

They are used with main verbs to make specific tenses:

·         He is coming. present continuous
·         She wasn't driving. past continuous
·         We haven't seen an eclipse before. present perfect
·         She had dropped her keys. past perfect

The verb be + a past participle is also used to make passive forms:

·         The road is mended once a year.
·         The engines are made in Germany.
·         The votes are being counted in the hall.
·         The whales had been driven onto the shore.

The auxiliary verbs are used to make questions:

·         Do you want a drink?
·         Don't you like opera?
·         Have you finished the work yet?
·         Which train do you think you'll catch?

Auxiliary verbs are used to make exclamations:

·         Wasn't she awful!
·         Haven't you grown!
·         Didn't they do well!
·         Isn't it freezing!

To make questions tags:

·         We're very happy, aren't we?
·         It's cold, isn't it?
·         You don't like fish, do you?
·         You haven't had a happy childhood, have you?

[Note that the verb to be is the most common verb in English and it is the only one that can operate as both a main verb and an auxiliary verb. It doesn't need any additional help to make questions or negatives].

·         I am very happy.
·         Am I very happy?
·         I'm not very happy.

Compare this with the verbs do and have which need additional help to make questions and negatives.

·         I have a very large nose. I don't have a very large nose.
·         I do my piano practice at 6 o'clock. I don't do my piano practice.


What is a modal auxiliary verb?

They are also 'helping' verbs because they are used to express a range of meanings, such as certainty, probability, possibility, suggestion, permission, instructions, requests, obligations, necessity, ability and so on. The main modal auxiliary verbs are:
·         can, could, may, might
·         shall, should, will, would
·         must, ought, to
·         also need to be able to, have (got) to

The main types of use of modal auxiliary verbs

certainty / probability (must, will, ought to, can't, should)

·         He must be feeling very unhappy at the moment.
·         She ought to forget him, and move on.

possibility (may, might, could, can)
·         She might arrive on the 5 o'clock train.
·         They may come on Sunday, but I'm not sure.

suggestion (may, could, shall, might)
·         Shall we start again?
·         You may want to read over your essay again.

permission (may, can, could)
·         Can I connect this wire now?
·         You may begin the examination.

instructions and requests (would, will, can, could)
·         Can you explain that in words of one syllable?
·         Could you close the door, please?

obligations / necessity (must, have to, have got to)
·         I must send my mother a card on her birthday.
·         I've got to re-write this essay.
ability (can, could, be able to)

·         I couldn't stop laughing!
·         He won't be able to shift that stone.

Modal auxiliary verbs

Modals auxiliary verbs are a very complex area of English grammar, so in this quick guide we will not be able to go into much detail, but we will at least get an overall idea of what their function is in a sentence. In an earlier section of this guide we looked at how the verb phrase can be broken down into its constituent parts and we noted that one of these parts was called a modal auxiliary verb. Just to remind you of the previous examples, a section of the chart has been reproduced below:


auxiliary verb

auxiliary verb(s)

Main verb


have been
the baby

Examples of modal auxiliary verbs

Before we look at some of the possible meanings of modal auxiliary verbs we need to have some idea of what constitutes a modal in English and where they occur in a sentence. A few more examples should enable us to answer the second of these points fairly quickly and easily - the modals are in bold:
·         He should be here by now.
·         I could swim quite well when I was younger.
·         You mustn't blame yourself for this.
·         You might have discussed it with me first.
·         You can't be serious!
·         Could you open the window please?
·         Must you make so much noise?
·         She had to take her brother along with her.
·         We ought to be going.
It should be clear from these examples that the modal verb occupies the first position in verb phrase, coming before any other auxiliary verb (like have or be) and the main lexical verb.
In questions the modal verb is simply inverted with the subject of the sentence as in examples 6 and 7 and it also carries the negative particle not (3rd and 5th examples).
The subject of the sentence has no effect on the form of the modal since almost in all cases they do not change at all.
So, a modal verb is quite simple as far as its form and position in various types of sentence are concerned; but what exactly are the modal verbs in English? The chart below lists the main modal auxiliaries that you are likely to meet and divides them into two categories pure modals and semi-modals, although in most cases the distinction is merely formal and their meanings are not affected by this division.

Pure modals


ought to
has/have (got) to
be able to
need ***
*** need is a special verb since as an auxiliary it is almost always negative and it is also a lexical verb as in sentences like he needs to speak to you now, while it acts as a modal verb in sentences such as you needn't come to work tomorrow where it has the same meaning as don't have to.

The forms of pure modals:

The main characteristics of the pure modals are:
·         they never change their form irrespective of the subject of the sentence
 he can swim, not *he cans swim
·         following on from the above feature, they do not change to show past tense
 she had to leave not *she musted leave
·         they all carry the negative of the sentence by the addition of not/n't
 I can't remember not *I don't can remember
·         they all form questions by inversion with the subject of the sentence. 
 should I stay?
·         they are all followed by the base form of the verb without the addition of to 
 he can swim not *he can to swim

The forms of semi-modals:

You will notice that this type of modal is made up of two or more separate words, the last one invariably being ‘to’. They are all modal in meaning but not in form as they behave differently in a sentence from the pure modals. It is perhaps best to think of the semi-modals in the form with the ‘to’ infinitive that is given in the table rather than thinking of them as modals that need to + base form. We need to look at the form of each individual semi-modal separately.

Be able to:

We use this semi-modal to express possibility or the ability to do something, but unlike the pure modals, be able to has a full range of tenses and also needs to inflect to show agreement with its subject. For example:
·         He is able to offer you the best price possible.
·         We were able to get in to see the film.
·         They haven't been able to find the missing document.
·         So, you aren't able to help.
Notice that the negative is carried either by the ‘be’ element or the auxiliary verb that is closest to the subject of the sentence. It can also be accompanied by any of the pure modals:
·         I will be able to see you after lunch.
·         They might not be able to put us up for the night.

Has/have (got) to:

This is used to express necessity or obligation to do something and shares some of the features of be able to discussed above. The have element of the form has to change to agree with its subject. Although it is normally used in the present tense, it also has its own past (had to) and can be used with pure modals to show the future or the attitude of the speaker:
·         They have to be more punctual.
·         He has to take responsibility for the accident.
·         I had to help my father repair his car.
·         We will have to put this off until tomorrow.
·         You shouldn't have to suffer in silence.
·         You don't have to come if you don't want to.
·         He didn't have to do all the shopping.

From these few examples it should be clear that the negative not again attaches itself to the auxiliary verb (modal or main) that comes immediately after the subject of the sentence.

Ought to:

It is usually claimed that the meaning of ought to is the same as should whether it refers to giving advice or making a logical deduction. So, to most native speakers the following sentences with ought to andshould feel the same:
·         You ought to see a doctor.
·         You should see a doctor.
·         They ought to have got back home by now.
·         They should have got back home by now.

In practice, most speakers tend to prefer should for negatives and questions because the ought to and oughtn't ... to forms can sound rather clumsy and awkward.
·         Ought you to be doing that?
·         They oughtn't to (ought not to) do that.
·         Oughtn't we to leave now?

Meanings of modal verbs:

The main function of modal verbs is to allow the speaker or writer to express their opinion of, or their attitude to, a proposition. These attitudes can cover a wide range of possibilities including obligation, asking for and giving permission, disapproval, advising, logical deduction, ability, possibility, necessity, absence of necessity and so on. The problem with each modal verb is that it can have more that one meaning and the interpretation of a particular modal will depend heavily on the context in which it is being used. The following examples should help to illustrate this point.
·         It might take more than a week. (possibility)
·         You might have told me about it! (showing disapproval)
·         He must take his medicine three times a day. (obligation)
·         He must be French. (logical deduction)
·         I can't lift that suitcase by myself. (ability)
·         That can't be the right answer. (logical deduction)
·         May I look at the questions now? (asking for permission)
·         They say it may snow tomorrow. (possibility)

You probably also noticed from the examples that notions like permission and possibility can be expressed using different modal verbs - this, of course, only serves to complicate matters further since one modal verb can have more than one meaning, and one meaning can be expressed by more than one modal verb. In the space that we have available here it would be impossible to cover all the meanings of each of the modals, so as examples we will look at some of the ways that obligation and logical deduction can be expressed.


The two main modals here are must and have to. The difference between them is usually given as follows:must is used to express an internal obligation that is imposed by the speaker, while have to refers to rules and regulations that are imposed from outside the speaker. Again, as with many points of grammar this is only intended as a rough guide.
To express a lack of obligation we cannot just automatically add not to the modal verbs without thinking more carefully about it first. How do you feel about the following sentences for instance?
·         He must sing loudly.
·         He mustn't sing loudly.

In the first sentence you would probably agree that this is obligation originating from, say, a teacher or someone with authority. The second sentence, however, does not express a lack of obligation but a prohibition to do something. The form that we use to express a lack of obligation could be one of the following:
·         He doesn't have to get up early.
·         He doesn't need to get up early.

This lack of balance in the use of modals can cause many problems for people who are learning English since it is quite illogical.

Logical deduction:

This is another area of modal use that is fraught with difficulties for reasons similar to those just discussed above. Look at the following sentences:
The telephone rings:
·         That'll be Frank.
·         That must be Frank.
·         That should be Frank.
·         That could be Frank.
·         That might be Frank.
·         That may be Frank.

The modal verbs used here have been listed in what many consider to be the order of likelihood of something being true. You may or may not agree with this listing, but it gives you some idea of some of the choices available for drawing logical conclusions from situations. If we look at the negatives of these sentences, however, you can see just how much more complex it can become:
·         That won't be Frank.
·         * That mustn't be Frank.
(To use
 musn't in this way as logical deduction is incorrect; we use can't instead.)
·         That shouldn't be Frank.
·         That couldn't be Frank.
·         That mightn't be Frank.

Many of these sentences now denote completely different attitudes to the situation and you may even agree that some of them are either not English or are only marginally acceptable. The sentence which has probably moved furthest from its original intention is the second one (mustn't) which sounds very odd. In fact, the negative of must when we talking about deduction is can't - one more example of how complicated and counter-intuitive the system of English modals can be.

Past time with modals:

We noted earlier that the pure modals do not change to show tense. Most of these modals do in fact have either present or future reference, but sometimes we need to refer back to the past. With the semi-modals there is little problem, but how can we do this for pure modal verbs? You may have picked up from some of the previous examples that one way to do this is to insert have immediately after the pure modal. But this is not always the case since can has its own past tense could when it refers to general ability. Some examples should help:
·         I can speak German.
·         I could speak German when I was seven years old.
·         You should see this film.
·         You should have seen this film.
·         Indonesia must be hot.
·         Indonesia must have been hot.
·         He could find his wallet.
·         He could have found his wallet.

Notice that in the third pair of sentences the meaning of must is logical deduction not obligation. If we want to use must for obligation then the past tense is had to.
·         She must visit her mother.
·         She had to visit her mother.


Conditional sentences:

The most common kind of conditional sentence that you are likely to meet will contain two clauses, one of which will start with the word if, as in If it rains, we'll have to stay at home. The clause without the if is the main clause of the sentence, while the if clause is subordinate. The order of the two clauses is generally not that important to the meaning of the sentence; so we can switch the if clause to the end of the sentence if we want to.

Most grammar books tend to recognise four basic configurations of tenses in conditional sentences which vary in structure according to the time that we are talking about (past, present or future) and the meaning. These four types are normally referred to as the zero, first, second and third conditionals; we will look at the forms and meanings of each of these in turn and also examine some of the alternatives to these four basic types.

Zero-type conditionals

Form and meaning
The form of the zero conditional causes no problems since the present tenses are used in both clauses.

Zero-type conditionals

If clause

Main or conditional clause

If + Present tense
Present tense
If you heat water
it boils.
The zero conditional is normally used to talk about facts and to express general truths.

First-type conditionals

Form and meaning

The basic form for this type of conditional sentence can be seen in the chart below. As before, the order of the clauses can be changed with no change in meaning.
This type refers to future possibilities that are certain or probable.

First-type conditionals

If clause

Main or conditional clause

If + Present tense
Future tense
If they don't arrive soon
If they are late
We’ll leave without them.
I'm going to be angry.

You will note that on the if side of the sentence any present tense can be used, while in the main clause the speaker is free to choose any future that helps to express any additional meaning that the speaker wants to express.

If he's sleeping, he won't wake up until morning. (The Present Continuous in the first part of the sentence expresses the present temporary nature of the situation and the will in the second part is making a prediction about the future.)

Alan is going to post me the recipe, if he finds it. (In the first clause I am expressing Alan's intention sogoing to is the best future to use, while the second clause contains a Simple Present tense.)

If he's staying at the party, I'm leaving. (In the first clause I am thinking about the possible current state of affairs, so I choose the Present Continuous, while in the second I am referring to the future plan that I have in mind should he decide to stay, so again I choose the Present Continuous.)

If you have finished the essay, leave it on my desk. (By using the Present Perfect tense in the if clause I am stressing the completed nature of the action, while in the second clause I have used an imperative, which has a future meaning.)

Second-type conditionals

Form and meaning
This type is often called the hypothetical or 'unreal' future conditional since it is usually used to speculate about either very unlikely future situations or present and future impossibilities.

Second-type conditionals

If clause

Main or conditional clause

If + Past tense
would + verb
If I had time
If I had wings
I would drop you off at school.
I would fly.

Other examples are:
·         If you were coming with us, you would have a great time. (Either I am not expecting you to come or you have already told me that you do not intend to come, so the situation is very unlikely to happen.)
·         I'm sure my mother would help if you asked her. (I am unsure whether you are going to ask so I hedge my bets by using an 'unreal' conditional; if I had used I'm sure my mother will help instead, this gives the impression that I feel you are likely to ask.)
·         If I were you, I'd call back later. (This is a fixed expression used for giving advice, but since I can never be you, I use the future hypothetical conditional; you should note that many people would say if I was you and this is becoming increasingly common.)

Third-type conditionals

Form and meaning
This type refers to hypothetical situations in the past. In this case we use the Past Perfect tenses in the ifclause and would + have in the main clause.

Third-type conditionals

If clause

Main or conditional clause

If + Past Perfect tense
would have + past participle
If I had known about his condition
If we had known about the storm
I would have phoned for you earlier.
we wouldn't have started our journey.

The main uses of the third conditional are for speculating about the past, expressing regrets, excusing our own actions and criticizing others. Some of the uses tend to overlap in practice as the examples below demonstrate:
·         If we'd taken the first turning, we would have been at home by now.
·         If I'd bought the lottery ticket, we would have won millions.
·         If I'd realised you were going to be so sensitive, I'd have kept quiet.
·         The meeting would've finished before 1:00 if you'd said less.

There is one other major variation to the form given in the chart above; in place of the more usual
If I had known about his condition...
we can use
Had I known about his condition... where the if is omitted and the subject and auxiliary verb are inverted.

Mixed conditionals

The four types of conditional sentence discussed above appear to fit into very rigid patterns of form and meaning but we often find exceptions to these rules. In many cases we may want to talk about events that happened or did not happen in the past and the present results of those events. Therefore, we will often need to mix clauses from different conditional types in order to get our meaning across clearly and unambiguously. Taking one example from above, we might want to say:
If I'd bought the lottery ticket, we would be millionaires now.
In this sentence I want to refer to something that I did not do in the past (and probably regret) and the possible effect that this action might have had on the present - so I use a third-conditional if clause and a second-conditional main clause. Swapping around these two types we also get:
·         If he was going to come, he would have arrived by now (with a second-conditional if clause and a third-conditional main).

This kind of mixing of conditional types is not uncommon.