Third Conditional Lesson Plan

Third conditional sentence

This activity presents third conditional sentences. Students will be able to identify conditional sentence type three, its meaning and how it is formed.

The activity

  1. Find an appropriate story to teach conditional sentences type three.
  2. For example, tell the students this story:
    “When John was 25, he had to choose a career:
    a. To become an English teacher.
    b. To become a businessman.
    He finally decided to become an English teacher , because he wanted to be able to travel around the world and work at the same time.  If he hadn’t become an English teacher, he wouldn’t have moved to London. He could have become a businessman of course. If he had become a businessman, he could have earned a lot of money.”
  3. Tell the students that the story contains two conditional sentences.
    • Ask them to identify them and
    • Elicit the form.

    Here are the examples:
    If he had not become a teacher, he would have moved to London
    If he had become a businessman he could have earned a lot of money.
    Elicit the form:

    If + had + past participle + would + have + past participle
  4. Ask the students some concept questions to check understanding:
    A. Did John become a teacher? (Yes)
    B. Did he move to London? (Yes)
    D. Are we talking about the past, present or future? (The past)
  5. Cut up third conditional sentences.
  6. Divide the students into pairs and give each pair a set of cut up sentences which they must re-organise into a third conditional sentence.
  7. When they think that the sentences are correct, they should call you over to check them.
  8. When they finish, ask them to write the sentences down in their notebooks.
  9. When all the pairs have finished re-organising the sentences, you can do some feedback and write them up on the board and ask the students concept questions (like in stage 4) about each sentence, to check comprehension.
  10. On the board, write four beginnings of 3rd conditional sentences and ask students in pairs to discuss how they would finish the sentences.
    a. If I hadn’t gone to primary school, I …
    b. If I’d traveled to China last year, I …
    c. If I’d met an alien last night, I …
    d. If I’d decided to stop my education earlier, I …
  11. Elicit endings from various students and write the best one for each sentence up on the board.

Follow up

Write on the board:

“Have you ever had to make a really big decision?
Can you imagine what would have happened if you hadn’t made that decision?”

Ask students to discuss the questions in pairs and monitor carefully to see if they are using the correct forms. Then ask them to write down third conditional sentences based on their discussions.

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