Inciting Conditionals

imagesThird and mixed conditionals are a pain in the neck for most students. Too many damn words in the sentence. But it’s a bit easier to deal with when it’s an “I wish” statement which is a sort of third conditional. You could extend this guessing game activity as a written/drill summary exercise for the torture of the full structure, but your students will stop using it the minute you stop listening so it’s up to you.


Print a copy of Mixed Conditional & Wish inciters and cut the cards up.


1. Put students in pairs, threes or fours. Or do it as a whole class activity. There are no  rules for this one – except for the tedium of the sentence structure that is!

2. Demo the first one. DO NOT say the sentence on the card. The students have to guess it. So, if the card says “You’ve eaten too much” you express wishes like “I wish I hadn’t had dessert,”; “I wish we hadn’t gone to that All You Can Eat place.” Obviously you can’t say “I wish I hadn’t eaten too much.”

3. The first student to guess the reason or close enough i.e. you’ve eaten too much gets a point. (It doesn’t always revise the present perfect, some of the cards are present tense.)


1. The card holder holds the card facing toward the rest of the students, who express the wishes and the card holder has to guess what  has happened to him/herself.

2. The card holder mimes the consequence and the students guess the wishes. This means they can guess using “You wish you hadn’t eaten too much“. This is easier for less imaginative classes especially.


The card holder has to produce a full conditional in order to get a point for themselves. E.g. If I hadn’t eaten so much, I wouldn’t have stomach ache.



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