I know in order to have perfect past we must have a simple past too.

but in conditional type 3. I cannot see any simple past.

"If she had gone to university, she would have found a really good job."

The past perfect is 'If she had gone to university'

but I wonder where is the simple past.

and what is the tense of this sentence

"she would have found a really good job."

  • 2
    As usual, a question that starts with "we know" states an incorrect rule. There is no such rule. That's why the sentence is perfectly grammatical. As for the rule, it's wrong because modal verbs have no tense, and they're very common in conditional constructions. Jul 30, 2020 at 20:53
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    I encourage you to check out my answer to this question because I cover the different types of conditionals and which tenses are used for each one. Please let me know if my other answer doesn't answer this question; I'd be happy to draft an answer for this question specifically!
    – user392938
    Jul 31, 2020 at 5:01
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    @xBlind You don’t need the simple past. Look at “Type 3” in my answer that I linked in my last comment. Type 3 is past perfect for the “if” clause (had gone) and perfect conditional for the main clause (would have found). There is no simple past in this sentence (and there shouldn’t be).
    – user392938
    Jul 31, 2020 at 18:36
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    @xBlind Did my explanation help? I would be happy to turn it into an answer for you if it was satisfactory. Let me know what you think.
    – user392938
    Aug 1, 2020 at 7:01
  • 1
    @xBlind Can you post it as a separate question? I'll answer as soon as I'm done with this answer.
    – user392938
    Aug 1, 2020 at 17:58

1 Answer 1


If she had gone to university, she would have found a really good job.

This is what is known as a type 3 conditional, which is used when the situation is hypothetical and in the past; also, the main clause ("she would have found a really good job") was probable but did not actually happen.


If I had fallen, I could have broken my arm. [perfect conditional]


If I had fallen, I would have been flying for a few seconds. [progressive perfect conditional]

The "if" clause uses the past perfect tense, and the main clause uses the perfect conditional or progressive perfect conditional tense. The perfect/progressive perfect tenses are made conditional by adding a modal auxiliary verb (such as "would") to the main verb.

One should not use the simple past for the main clause in a type 3 conditional sentence; instead, one should use the perfect conditional or progressive perfect conditional tenses.

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