A Mixed Conditional Activity
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Unfortunately for language learners, learning about grammar and how to use grammar is part and parcel of learning a language. While some may argue it is not as important as learning vocabulary, it is certainly necessary to have a handle on the grammar of a language in order to be able to communicate effectively in that language. After all, while individual words can communicate meaning, without grammar they cannot convey anything more than basic ideas and needs. We need grammar to really be able to express ourselves. With English, as with many languages, there is a lot of grammar to learn. As a teacher of English as a Foreign Language, if you were asked which the most confusing grammar point for your students is, what would you say? Present perfect? Phrasal verbs? Adverbials? The list could go on! But what about mixed conditionals?
Conditional sentences can be quite problematic for English language learners, and sometimes even for teachers. So before we get into this let’s make sure we know what we’re talking about.
What is a conditional?
A conditional sentence is a sentence which is used to talk about a hypothetical situation in the past, present or future. In other words, conditionals are used to speculate about what could have been, what might be now, or what could be in the future. Generally speaking, conditional sentences use if, though they can use unless in its place if it’s a negative sentence. Conditional sentences include a condition (or if-clause) and a main clause.
There are five kinds of conditionals in English: zero, first, second, third and mixed. Each conditional utilises a different tense to refer to a different degree of hypothetical situation in a different time period. That’s quite a mouthful but it’ll make sense soon, we promise.
The zero conditional
The zero conditional refers to the present, in that it refers to a general truth or fact; something that will always be true. It uses the simple present tense.
For example, If you heat water to 100 degrees, it boils.
This is a fact and it will always be true so we use the zero conditional.
The first conditional
The first conditional refers to a situation in the present or future which is real, probable or likely. It uses the present tense in the if-clause and will in the result clause.
For example, If you don’t take a jacket, you’ll get cold.
This is a likely situation. There is a chance it won’t happen but it is a pretty solid prediction. The first conditional is often used to convey promises or threats.
The second conditional
The second conditional refers to a situation in the present or future which is hypothetical or improbable. It uses the simple past tense in the if-clause and would in the result clause.
For example, If you were a bit taller, you would be able to reach the shelf.
This situation is an impossible situation so a second conditional is used.
The third conditional
The third conditional refers to a situation in the past. Because it is referring to the past, it is a hypothetical situation. It uses the past perfect in the if-clause and would have in the result clause.
For example, I would have told her if I had seen her.
This is a past situation which obviously cannot be changed. The third conditional is often used to express regrets.
Read more: What is a Conditional Sentence?
In order to get a handle on conditionals, learners need to be exposed to them, understand their construction and purpose, and practise them. Though they might seem impossible at first, once you understand them they make sense.
But then there are the mixed conditionals.
Conditionals themselves are tricky little monsters but when we bring in the added dimension of mixing them, you can usually see your students’ minds imploding. Of course, learning about mixed conditionals and how to use them needn’t be so challenging but many students find themselves getting in a muddle with them. It’s our duty to show our students how much fun mixed conditionals can be, while still making sure they understand and know how to use them appropriately and effectively.
What is a mixed conditional?
What is a mixed conditional? A mixed conditional is when the two parts of a conditional sentence refer to two different time periods. For example, it could be describing a present result from a past condition
If I had studied Medicine, I would be a doctor.
or a past condition of a present result
If I didn’t trust him I wouldn’t have told him.
As you can imagine, this jump in time can be rather confusing for our students. Considering that practice is key to getting to grips with conditionals, we need a lot of activities up our sleeves to help our students as much as possible. However, when you get into it, dealing with mixed conditionals can be really fun. Activities used to teach mixed conditionals are creative and imaginative and, as a result, interesting.
A mixed conditional activity
Here is a great activity you can try the next time you are teaching mixed conditionals.
Hand out papers to the students. Each paper must be divided into two, clearly labelled past and present/future. Each student or pair of students must be given two counters of some sort – two coins, two animal toys, two game pieces, anything. Each piece must be designated as either the if or the result clause.
Ask your students to create conditional sentences or, alternatively, you can create a situation which lends itself to conditional sentences. As your students make up the sentences, they must put their counters on the appropriate time frame that they wish to communicate.
For example, they could come up with sentences like:
If I hadn’t overslept, I wouldn’t be in such a hurry.
In this case they would put the if counter on the past section of the paper and the result clause on the present section of the paper. Doing this will make your students think carefully about what they want to say before they say it. If necessary, you can write up the grammar for each section to remind them of the structure of the sentence.
Bear in mind, your students are doing this from the standpoint of the meaning of the sentence, not the grammar. The divided pieces of paper are there to focus your students on the correct grammar and help you the teacher and the other students ensure they are using the correct grammar.
It may sound a little confusing at first but once your students get the hang of it they should find creating mixed conditional sentences much easier.
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- proof of your identity
- proof of your home address
- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.