Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

What would you do today if you didn’t have to work?

Asking what someone what they would do in an unreal situation is a fun and interesting way to get to know them on a deeper level.

Today we’ll teach you how to use the unreal conditional tense to ask about imagined events that aren’t expected to actually happen.

This is an important part of conversation that can come up at certain times, so knowing how to use this can be important and helpful.

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Using The Second Conditional

Sometimes you want to get to know the person you are talking to a little better.

Sometimes you want to keep the conversation going if there’s a lull or a bit of a break in the dialogue.

An excellent way to keep things going is to ask hypothetical type of questions.

This allows you to get to know the person you are talking to a bit better, but also ensures that you keep the conversation going.

In this next part of our grammar series, we are looking at the second conditional.

We use the second conditional to talk about what we would do in unreal conditions or imaginary situations.

We use “if” with the past simple and then “would” followed by the base verb.

For example, you could say something like Lindsay did such as “If I didn’t have to work, I would…” 

We talked about the second conditional in Episode 1211, and here it was part of our conditional series.

There we called it the lottery conditional, and you can see how this works and why it has a place in conversation.

This is a very important part of conversation, and one that you will find to come in handy at certain times.

You don’t necessarily want to lead with this sort of thing, but you will find it useful at the right time.

Why Is It Important To Know This?

You will inevitably find yourself in situations where you run out of things to say.

Some common examples of these situations include first dates, road trips, or even being at a party where you may not know everyone.

A great way to get beyond surface level small talk is to ask about a hypothetical situation.

You might think that’s a hard thing to pull off in conversation, but really it’s not as hard as you might imagine.

It’s amazing what you can learn about a friend when asking these types of questions, and it can make for fun conversation!

It’s important to note that this shouldn’t be the first question you ask someone when you run into them.

A bit of small talk is appropriate at first and really works well to transition into the conversation.

If it’s a situation where you have more time , such as at a party or meeting for lunch, then these questions are perfect and work quite well.

A good example of a question to ask each other could be something like “If you could travel back in time and meet anyone from history, who would you meet?”

You can see how this wouldn’t come first in the conversation, but it can work quite well.

These hypothetical questions can be great for starting a good conversation and ensuring that you work towards connection.

This is a really fun part of learning English, getting to know somebody better, and putting your vocabulary to good use.

Roleplay To Help

As with anything a roleplay can help, but especially in an area like this.

In this roleplay Lindsay and Aubrey are on a road trip and have been chatting, but now there’s a bit of a lull.

Lindsay: “Hey, here’s a question. So, I’m wondering – where would you go if you could travel anywhere in the world right now?”

Aubrey: ” [Answers]….what about you?”

Lindsay: “If you could only eat one kind of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?”

Aubrey: “[Answers]……What theme park would you visit if you never had to wait in line?”

You can see how this type of conversation can really help to keep things interesting.

These hypothetical type of questions help you to get to know somebody better, but also ensure that you keep the conversation going.


Don’t get stuck with nothing to say on a road trip, at a party or when hanging out with friends.

Ask one of the questions from today’s episode to spark a fun and interesting conversation!

Also, when you can help people imagine a better situation than what they currently have, especially right now, you can inspire them and help them dream.

They will enjoy talking to you more if you let them dream out loud.

This is an interesting aspect of conversation that will allow just that, and will contribute to a deeper connection.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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