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Today’s lesson plan involves the third conditional, a PowerPoint presentation and the King.

The third conditional is a complex construction which sometimes causes confusion for students. It is especially important for upper intermediate and advanced students.

When I’m teaching my exam preparation classes I use this lesson plan as a fun and dynamic way of introducing this grammar point to my students.


(This lesson plan can be done without PowerPoint if you don’t have access to a projector. Each part will have to be written on the board instead of using the slides.)

Introducing the grammar

  1. Tell your students you are going to show them the timeline of a famous person. They must guess who it is but make sure that they don’t shout the answer out or it’ll ruin it for the others.
  2. Go through each line of the timeline one by one giving the students a little bit of time to think about it. they should work out that it’s Elvis pretty quickly
  3. Tell the students to imagine that Elvis had never bought his guitar. Ask the question “how would Elvis’ life have been different if he had never bought his guitar?”
  4. You”ll probably get a response like “he wouldn’t be famous”.
  5. At this point show them the next slide explaning the grammar of the third conditional which are imaginary situations in the past.
  6. Using concept questions ask the students, other hypothetical questions about Elvis’ life. Try to get them to use the grammar correctly

Pair activity

  1. Individually ask each student to write a timeline, similar to that of Elvis’, including the key moments of their own lives.
  2. Once finished, put the students into pairs. Get them to make third conditional sentences about their partner. “If Diego hadn’t studied engineering, he would have been a teacher.”


Divide your students into two groups. The first group lines up on one side, the other group stands face to face in front of the other group. Put the list of questions on the board via PowerPoint. 

The students will discuss each question for one minute. Then, after the minute has gone, one student from the end will walk to the opposite side of the line and the rest of the students will shuffle to their right so they that have a new partner to talk to. This process will repeat after each of the questions. This will create lively discussion which forces the students to talk without skipping the questions. 

While they are talking, the teacher can write any errors that he/she overhears on the board. A feedback session can be done based on those errors.