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Brad's Advanced Composition  February 3 Assignment

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Advanced Composition February 3, 2000 
Using the Past Unreal

The Past Unreal means talking about a situation that did not happen in the past. This tense is useful in conversation and in writing when you would like to explain how you might have done something different from someone else, or what you should have done if you had a chance to do something again.


bulletIf I had had the strength, I would have lifted a bigger weight at the fitness centre.
bulletIf I had studied harder, I could have passed the test.



Subordinate Clause

Main Clause

past perfect

would + have + past participle

past perfect continuous

could + have + past participle


*also “might” or “should”

If John had studied

he would have passed the exam.

If John had been studying

he could have passed the exam




Write about a situation where you did something that you would change if given the chance. Perhaps you failed a test, got angry at someone, or made some other mistake. See a teacher writing sample using the past unreal.

Go to Assignment Archive for older assignments.



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