the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English
Writing Prompt

Writing Prompt ~ Third Conditional

Writing Prompt: In English we use the third conditional to talk about something in the past that did not happen. There is no possibility for this thing to come true because the past already happened. The result is also impossible because the past is in the past. Review the structure of the third conditional. Then demonstrate your understanding of how to use this structure by writing a paragraph staring with the phrase “If I had known…”.


If I had known…
If I had known that my grandmother was going to die young, I would have planned a special trip for the two of us. If she had said no to the trip, I would have insisted. If we had gone on our weekend away, I would have taken lots of pictures. I would have taken her to a nice restaurant on an island somewhere and I would have asked her all about her favourite memories with my mother. If I had known that she was going to die early and that I was going to inherit her sewing machine, I would have asked her to teach me how to quilt. If my grandfather had not died shortly after her, I would have visited him regularly. I’m sure he would have stayed with us in the summer months. If I had known that my grandfather would die a few weeks after her, I would have asked him to go on a trip, too. I would have asked him to write me one last letter. If I had known that my grandparents were going to die a few weeks apart, I would have taken some videos of them with my kids. I would have told them how much they meant to me. If only I had known…

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below