We can use the Second Conditional to talk about 'impossible' situations.
•If I had one million dollars, I'd give a lot to charity.
•If there were no more hungry people in this world, it would be a much better place.
•If we were in New York today, we would be able to go to the free Elton John concert in Central Park.
Notice that after I / he/ she /it we often use the subjunctive form 'were' and not 'was'. (Some people think that 'were' is the only 'correct' form but other people think 'was' is equally 'correct' .)
•If I were in Tokyo, I'd have sushi every day.
•If she were really happy in her job, she'd be working much harder.
•If IBM were to enter our market, we would have big problems.
Notice the form 'If I were you' which is often used to give advice.
•If I were you, I'd change my job.
•If I were you, I'd sign up for Pearson's fantastic English lessons.
We can also use the Second Conditional to talk about 'unlikely' situations.
•If I won the lottery, I'd buy my parents a big house.
•If I went to the moon, I'd bring back some moon rock.
•If you met him, you'd really like him.
Notice that the choice between the first and the second conditional is often a question of the speaker's attitude rather than of facts. For example, consider two people Peter Pessimist and Otto Optimist.
•Otto – If I win the lottery, I'll buy a big house.
•Peter – If I won the lottery, I'd buy a big house.
•Otto – If I get promoted, I'll throw a big party.
•Peter – If I got promoted, I'd throw a big party.
•Otto – If my team win the Cup, I'll buy champagne for everybody.
•Peter – If my team won the Cup, I'd buy champagne for everybody.
Notice that the 'If clause' can contain the past simple or the past continuous.
•If I was still living in Brighton, I would commute by train.
•If they were thinking of coming, they would let us know.
•If she were coming, she would be here by now.
Notice that the main clause can contain 'would' 'could' or 'might.
•If I met him again, I wouldn't recognize him.
•If we met up for lunch one day, I could take you to that new restaurant.
•If I spoke to him directly, we might be able to reach an agreement.
Also notice that sometimes the 'if clause' is implied rather than spoken.
•What would I do without you? ("if you stopped working here")
•Where would I get one at this time of night? ("if I went looking for one")
•He wouldn't agree. ("if we asked him