There are many things in life that people wished were different. We look at what our neighbor has or what he/she is doing and wish that we could be living his/her life. In English, we express these feelings and thoughts by using the Second Conditional - a grammar form meant for unreal / unlikely / or impossible events.
Now I live in Osaka. While I really love Osaka, I’m not too fond of the overly hot and humid summers. Hokkaido must be nice in the summer… Cooler, less humid, and easier to move about.
- If I lived in Hokkaido in the summer, I would go out more often.
- If I lived in Hokkaido in the summer, I wouldn’t sweat so much.
The two sentences above express my desire to live in Hokkaido in the summer. Since the likelihood of me living in Hokkaido in the summer is immeasurably small, I have to use the second conditional.
Using the second conditional is easy. The pattern is:
- If… + (past simple verb), + would/could/should/might + (base verb)
Let’s look at some more examples.
- If I had a jet, I could fly around the world.
- If I owned an island, I would hold exclusive beach parties once a week.
- If Taylor Swift became the president for Apple, she might make more fashionable iPhones.
- If I were rich, I would replace my wardrobe.
*Was becomes were for the second conditional.
How would you change your life, if you could?