English Grammar: Passive Voice and Conditional Sentences

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Passive Voice

This shirt needs to be ironed

This shirt needs ironing

The house needs to be painted

The house needs painting

Both sentences are correct

Both sentences have the same meaning

Instances of Passive Voice

  • When the agent is unknown
  • When the agent is irrelevant
  • When the agent is obvious from the context

Uses of 'Have Something Done'

  • A service provided: I had my house painted
  • Describe something unpleasant: John had his passport stolen
  • Future statements (promises): I will have my homework done for tomorrow

Conditional Sentences

I went to the optician yesterday and I tested my eyesight because you do not test yourself, the optician does it.

Zero Conditional

Also called real factual, is used for general truths


First Conditional

Also called real predictive, is used to talk about possible and probable things/actions


Second Conditional

Also called unreal hypothetical, is used when we refer to past and impossible situations (possible but not probable situations)


Third Conditional

Also called unreal counterfactual, refers to the past and it can't be changed


Cases of Inversion

1st cond. predictive = replace if for SHOULD

Should you have more free time, give me a call

2nd cond = hypothetical replace IF for WERE

Were you to come, give me a call

3rd counterfactual = replace IF for HAD

Had I had more free time, I would have studied harder

We use WILL in the IF clause when we want to show willingness, refusal or annoying situation IF HE WILL CONTINUE EATING ALL DAY, HE WILL BE FAT.

Examples of Mixed Conditional

Past condition - effect in the present: If you hadn't been rude, she wouldn't be angry

Present action - effect in the past: If you weren't rude, she wouldn't have been angry

If I were younger I'd be more adventurous

I cannot be young again

Conditional Sentences Summary

  • Factual cond express generalizations
  • Second cond can refer to improbable and impossible situations
  • Factual cond can only contain present tense and past tenses
  • Hypothetical cond are referred to second conds
  • Counterfactual refer to impossible and improbable situations

Expressions of Desire and Preference

It's high time is used to say that something is not happening and it should be

Always positive

2 uses of I WISH

To complain: I wish you would stop making noise

To express a desire: I wish you were here

When the subject is the same we use past simple, when we wish somebody to perform the action we use would.

We use would rather to express preference, followed by a verb in infinitive form when there's no change of subject. Would rather followed by a verb in the past simple when there are 2 different subjects. Would rather = would like.

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