Third Conditional Activity

This is a downloadable ESL classroom activity to present and practise the third conditional with a situational presentation.

Activity to practise the third conditional

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Here’s some more info about the activity:

Aim To present and practise the third conditional.
Activity Students use situations in a story to form third conditional sentences.
Organisation Pair work
Preparation Make enough copies of the story for the number of students in your class.
Cut up the story into paragraphs and mix them up.
What do I do?
  1. Pre-teach new vocabulary from the story.
  2. Put students into pairs and hand out the cut up story.
  3. Students read and order paragraphs of the story.
  4. Ask students if Sarah had a good or a bad morning (bad). Ask students what problems she had.
  5. Write each problem on the board as students call them out and then ask them what the result of each problem was:
    Her alarm didn’t go off – she overslept.
  6. Now ask students to imagine Sarah had a good morning, and write on the board accordingly under each example:
    Her alarm went off – she didn’t oversleep.
  7. Use one example to present the third conditional:
    If her alarm had gone off, she wouldn’t have overslept.
  8. Pairs make third conditional sentences with the remaining examples.

Sarah had to be at the airport for her flight at 9am, but her alarm didn’t go off and she overslept. She got dressed very quickly, threw everything into her suitcase and ran out of the house.

When she got to the airport she realised she had forgotten her passport. So she jumped in a taxi and returned home. She grabbed her passport from the coffee table, got in a taxi and went back to the airport.

One mile from the airport the taxi broke down. She tried to flag down another, but they were all taken and so she ran the rest of the way.

When she arrived at the airport, she saw that she had missed her flight. She had to pay 500 dollars for another ticket for the next flight.

While she was waiting, she went to buy a book. She was so preoccupied with her difficult morning that she walked out of the shop without paying and was arrested by the police.

The police detained her for three hours and she missed her flight again. Sarah went home and decided never to fly again!

Keith Taylor
Keith is the co-founder of Eslbase. He has been a teacher and teacher trainer for over 20 years, in Indonesia, Australia, Morocco, Spain, Italy, Poland, France and now in the UK.

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