The Second Conditional is used to talk about 'impossible' situations.
• If we were in London today, we would be able to go to the concert in Hyde Park.
• If I had millionsdollars, I'd give a lot to charity.
• If there were no hungry people in this world, it would be a much better place.
• If everyone had clean water to drink, there would be a lot less disease.
Notethat after I / he/ she /it we often use the subjunctive form 'were' and not 'was'. (Some people think that 'were' is the only 'correct' form but other people think 'was' is equally 'correct' .)
• If shewere happy in her job, she wouldn't be looking for another one.
• If I lived in Japan, I'd have sushi every day.
• If they were to enter our market, we'd have big problems.
Note the form 'If Iwere you' which is often used to give advice.
• If I were you, I'd look for a new place to live.
• If I were you, I'd go back to school and get more qualifications.
The Second Conditional is also usedto talk about 'unlikely' situations.
• If I went to China, I'd visit the Great Wall.
• If I was the President, I'd reduce taxes.
• If you were in my position, you'd understand.
Note that thechoice between the first and the second conditional is often a question of the speaker's attitude rather than of facts. Compare these examples. Otto thinks these things are possible, Peter doesn't.
•Otto – If I win the lottery, I'll buy a big house.
• Peter – If I won the lottery, I'd buy a big house.
• Otto – If I get promoted, I'll throw a big party.
• Peter – If I got promoted, I'd throw a bigparty.
• Otto – If my team win the Cup, I'll buy champagne for everybody.
• Peter – If my team won the Cup, I'd buy champagne for everybody.
Note that the 'If clause' can contain the past simpleor the past continuous.
• If I was still working in Brighton, I would commute by train.
• If she were coming, she would be here by now.
• If they were thinking of selling, I would want to buy....