How to teach second conditional

Posted on Apr 13 2015 - 4:17am by Zdenda

Conditionals scare students to death. They seem complicated and difficult to understand. But as I explain, they only seem to be like this. In fact, they are quite simple and easy to comprehend.

In this post I will try to keep things as simple as possible. I will deal only with one type of conditional – the second conditional. At the beginning of the post there is a song which clearly demonstrates the form and the meaning of the grammar. Then there is a mind map and another explanation of the meaning. The post finishes with several online games which you or your students can use to practise the grammar.

Second conditional – song

First, ask your students to listen and complete the following lyrics. Then ask them to listen and sing the song. In this way they will improve their listening and pronunciation, and they will notice the form of the second conditional.

Second conditional song lyrics

Second conditional song:

Second conditional – infographic

Display the following mind map and ask the students to read the sentences. Then elicit the form of the second conditional.
Second conditional infographics

Draw the students’ attention to the pictures at the bottom of the page and explain the usage of the second conditional. It is used for imagined situations.

Second conditionals – games

You can play the following games in class or you can tell your students to do the exercises at home.
The first game is called Hoop Shoot. Your task is to choose the correct option and then stop the circles as close to the centre as possible. Will you be able to score all 30 points?

Second conditional – En garde game

The second game is called Fling the Teacher. Your task is to choose only the correct answers and then see your teacher fly. If you manage to answer all the questions correctly, I think your teacher will not mind the bad treatment.
Second conditional – Fling the teacher

Second conditionals – links

You can find some excellent materials for teaching the second conditional at the British Council site.


There is a nice explanation of this grammar at the BBC Learning English site too.

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