Fun activities for the 2nd conditional

Let me begin this blog post by saying that conditionals are not the easiest phenomenon to teach, especially since there are lots of combinations which are used in natural speech, but are not really covered in text books. After having shared with you my fun activities for the first conditional, I thought it was about time to move on to what is traditionally known as the 2nd conditional and suggest a few fun activities which practice the 2nd conditional. First, let’s have a look at the form (keep in mind that there are many other forms not mentioned here). 


If + simple past , would + base verb

E.g. If we went by train, we would get there earlier.

(Also possible:  would+ base verb +if+ simple past)


Something reasonably possible but ‘ more tentative’. Past tense does not refer to past. Here, it is likely that the train would take you to your destination faster. 

                                                      Alexander, G. L. (1998, p.208-9)


Stranded in a cave
Tell your students that they are stuck in a cave. Put them in groups of four. Give them different pictures or word cards with random items on them e.g. a chocolate bar, a chewing gum, a rope, a dog, a magazine, a plastic bag and so on. Each student has their own set of cards and each member of the group has different cards. Ask them to tell you how they would use these items in the cave. Would they also use them to get out of the cave? How? Each group should decide on the two or three most necessary items. They should use the 2nd conditional when saying how they will use this.
For example,
Item on picture card:
Chewing gum
Student response:
If I had a chewing gum, I would chew it in order to feel less stressed.daisy

2nd conditional songs + Karaoke
You can do listening activities with the following two songs and then do Karaoke with your students!
If you could see me now  The Script (official video)
If you had my love Jennifer Lopez (official video)
Karaoke version
Also, why not get your students to change the lyrics and sing their own versions?
Conditionals noughts and crosses
We have all played noughts and crosses, so why not put words that are used in the 2nd conditional in the box? In order for you students to get an X or O in the table, they need to make a sentence using the word in the box and of course this sentence needs to be in the 2nd conditional.Scan0081
Consequence chain story
A consequence chain is like writing a chain story but the learners must use the 2nd conditional and write about consequences (for more about this go here). How do you set this up? Well, get your students to sit in rows. One student from each end of the room must write a sentence in the second conditional. Then, hand it to the student next to him/her. That student uses the previous student’s main clause to form an if clause, and then adds his/her own main clause and so on.

 Student A: If you arrived here early, you would meet Peter. Next student: If you met Peter, you would probably end up going on a date.

My students’ consequence chain (level: A1)


Finish my sentence-Ball game
If you have learners who like moving around, you should play this game. One student stands in the front of the class and says half a conditional. The learner then throws the ball to a student and that student needs to finish off the sentence. You can even turn this into a team game where each student’s correct answer adds points to the team. This is great for the summer, you can play outside!

Let’s do some math
Give your students math tasks and ask them to write down what they see.

For example,
If I had 3 cows and they produced 5 kilos of milk every day, how much milk would each cow produce?

If scenarios

Get your learners to talk or write about what they would do in each of these scenarios. You can jazz things up by getting them to draw pictures while doing so, like a little picture composition.
If I won 1 million euros, I would……..

If I had one day left to live, I would……

If I could fly anywhere in the world, I would…..

If I could choose any famous person to date, I would…….

Dating game

You choose three students and give them three I.D cards ( you can make these cards up or you can use information about famous people). You also choose a bachelor or bachelorette. The bachelorette/bachelor cannot see the three candidates. He/she asks questions like, ” What would you do if you were on a deserted island?” and the candidates need to answer using the 2nd conditional as well(if you press the title of this idea you can watch another teacher describing this game in more detail). 43105-valentine

Card game
You need an hour glass or some sort of timer and some cards with either an if clause or a main clause. Once you hand your students their cards, they need to write the rest of the conditional clause on a sheet of paper. When the timer goes off, the student that has the most correct sentences is the winner.

Where I looked for some ideas

Alexander, L.G. (1998). Longman English Grammar Practice for Intermediate Students. New York.: Longman.
Hope you liked this post.
Till next time…..

One thought on “Fun activities for the 2nd conditional

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s