I wonder what would happen if…

A children’s cartoon provides some great examples of the unreal conditional, i.e, talking about imagined situations.

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I wonder what would happen if…

One thing that makes us human is our ability to imagine things, not just things that happen or have happened, but things that might happen. In fact, we can even imagine impossible things, like floating to the moon on a soap bubble.

Here is a cute example of imagining an unreal situation. It is a cartoon that teaches children to think about the possible consequences of their actions.

Notice how the little girl in the cartoon expresses herself using a structure designed for talking about imagined situations. It is called the unreal conditional and it uses “if,” “would” and one or more past tense verbs.

imagine – to form a picture of something or someone in your mind นึกคิด, จินตนาการ, นึกฝัน
float – to cause to move slowly in the air or on water  ลอย
consequences – results of effects of something ผลที่ตามมา

I wonder what would happen if I sneaked up behind Donald and popped this balloon.

That would scare him and his dog.

And what would happen if I popped this balloon and it does scare him and his dog?

The dog might pull Donald away on his skateboard. That would be funny.

And what would happen if I popped this balloon and scared Donald and his dog and the dog does pull Donald away on his skateboard?

Oh. Donald and his dog might get hurt and that wouldn’t be funny at all.

Hey, Donald I want to give you this balloon.

Oh, Thanks Linda. It’s really nice of you to think of me.

Oh, That’s all right Donald.

About the author

Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager