Structure: Expressing emphasis using Inversion: Inverted conditional sentences without "if": (Sentences beginning 'Were...', 'Should...', 'Had...').
Level: Upper Intermediate - Advanced
Author: Daniel Hermosilla
Being able to express inverted conditional statements in English is a sign of an advanced level of linguistic competence as this structure is quite complex and less commonly used in daily communication. At a high level students need to be acquainted with it and activate it in a communicative way.
We like Daniel’s proposal for learning it because he has managed to introduce this complex structure in an easy and functional way avoiding obscure grammar definitions and has provided situations or questions which invite the students to activate the structure in a humorous way.
Show the following expressions. They are used to emphasize a condition:
Model the structure by giving the following examples:
WERE I A GOOD SINGER, I WOULD SING YOU A SONNET.
HAD I ONE EURO FOR EVERY TIME A STUDENT SAID ‘I AM AGREE’, I WOULD BE A RICH TEACHER!
SHOULD I EVER VISIT INDONESIA I WILL SURELY TRY THEIR FAMOUS WEASEL POO COFFEE.
Give the following situations to the students. Students to express their opinion as in the previous examples:
- If you were asked to give a speech in front of two thousand people, would you do it?
- If you went skinny-dipping and a stranger saw you, what would you do?
- If you had the chance to ask God a single question, what would you ask him?
- If someone’s underwear were showing, would you tell them?
- If you were president, what would you change about your country?
- If you could go to the moon, how and when would you like to go?
- If you were told that you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?
- If you had won a million euros, what would you do?
- Had I won the lottery, I would have bought a super yacht.
- Should I have the chance to visit god, I would ask him “Why do babies die?”
- Were I to be president, I would give everyone one free beer a day.
Which of these conditional sentences refer to the present? Which of them are unreal or hypothetical? In which situations do we use such emphatic structures?
About the author of the activity:
Daniel is a TEFL trainer and an Oxbridge teacher for three years now. His activities are functional, teacher friendly and straight to the point. Daniel’s teaching style is analytical and effective, combining clear objectives with good sense of humour.