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Ok,

Conditional sentence type 2 refers to an unlikely or hypothetical condition and its probable result. These sentences are not based on the actual situation. In type 2 conditional sentences, the time is now or any time and the situation is hypothetical.

EXAMPLES

If the weather wasn't so bad, we would go to the park. (But the weather is bad so we can't go.)

If I was the Queen of England, I would give everyone a chicken. (But I am not the Queen.)

If you really loved me, you would buy me a diamond ring.

If I knew where she lived, I would go and see her.

But what about this sentence "If I told you that I lived in Russia, you wouldn't believe it."

How to explain it under the rule of conditional sentence type 2?

I suspect conditional sentence type 2 can be used to express other things not just "hypothetical situations".

closed as unclear what you're asking by Janus Bahs Jacquet, user140086, user66974, curiousdannii, BladorthinTheGrey Dec 28 '16 at 9:24

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Get rid of irrelevancies. "If I told you that, you wouldn't believe me" or "if I had told you that, ..." – Mitch Dec 27 '16 at 15:00
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    I don't understand what you're asking here. What's to explain? Your sentence fits the description to a T and is entirely parallel to the other examples of Type 2 conditional sentences given. What is it that troubles you about it? Also note that many people (myself included) consider the past indicative ungrammatical or at least jarring in the prodasis of this type of counterfactual (‘irrealis’) conditional. The first two examples in your quote are grammatical to some speakers, but to others they would have to be “If the weather weren’t so bad…” and “If I were the Queen of England. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 27 '16 at 16:47
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I think the OP is confused by the logic of the situation. If something is unlikely to happen, then it is likely not to happen, so why do both entail remoteness. – Phil Sweet Dec 27 '16 at 16:54
  • The example sentence you are quoting is not in the same type of all other examples where you can change the affirmative clause to negative and change the negative to affirmative as in "Since you don't love me, you will (would) not buy me a diamond ring". Contrast it with "Since I don't tell you that I lived in Russia, you will (would) believe me". This sentence doesn't work and you need to research the meaning of "would" and it will help you better than trying to understand the sentence using the conditional Type 2. – user140086 Dec 27 '16 at 17:38
  • @BladorthinTheGrey See my comment above. ;-) (Also, prodasis in my previous comment was obviously supposed to be protasis.) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 28 '16 at 11:48
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But your sentence

If I told you that I lived in Russia, you wouldn't believe me.

does refer "to an unlikely or hypothetical condition and its probable result" and "[it is] not based on the actual situation," which are quotations from the website you link to.

The speaker is not actually telling his listener that he lives in Russia. He is setting up a "hypothetical condition" in which he tells the listener:

If I told you that I lived in Russia (and I'm not telling you that I do), you wouldn't believe me.

Compare to

If I said I was going to buy you lunch tomorrow, would you let me borrow your car today?

The speaker is not saying he will buy the person lunch tomorrow, he is setting up a "hypothetical situation" in which he will:

If I said I was going to buy you lunch tomorrow (and I'm not saying I will), would you let me borrow your car today?

Note the term hypothetical is a term that can have many meanings. The linguistic term is irrealis, or "unreal". See Unreality (‘Irrealis’) – Conditionals and Reported Speech – and some Shakespeare!

You bring up a good question in your comment:

What if he actually lives in Russia in real world. Then the question is "why does he need to set up a hypothetical condition". If he actually lives in Russia, then should he say "If I say I live in Russia, will you believe me?

Okay, let's say the speaker (George) actually lives in Russia. He has a girlfriend who does not take him at at his word; she doesn't believe what he says, for whatever reason. George acknowledges this by saying If I said I lived in Russia, would you believe me? This is a hypothetical question, even though he actually lives in Russia. Based on previous experience, they both know the answer is no.

At this point George, to convince her that he actually lives in Russia can have her brought to Russia, or go and fetch the woman herself and bring her to his home in Russia; and if she asks him why he went to all this trouble, he can reply: If I had said I lived in Russia, would you have believed me? This again is a hypothetical, but it's a past conditional since he has already brought her to Russia.

  • great explanation, but what if he actually lives in Russia in real world. Then the question is "why does he need to set up a hypothetical condition". If he actually lives in Russia, then should he say "If I say I live in Russia, will you believe me?" – Tom Dec 27 '16 at 15:04
  • Good question @Tom. I've edited my answer to include a scenario in which the speaker might use a hypothetical even though he lives in Russia. – AmE speaker Dec 27 '16 at 15:30
  • @Tom It isn't just the reality of living in Russia that matters. It's also the reality of having asked the question. "If I told you that I lived in Russia" is irrealis because I haven't told you that I lived in Russia. – MetaEd Dec 27 '16 at 21:13

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