The Hypothetical Period

I will write something about the Hypothetical Period, so as to clarify some aspects of its grammar rules.

Well, in English it is divided into four cases, that express different possibilities:


It expresses a general accepted truth, and it is formed by:

If + Simple present , Simple present

In italian:

Se + Indicative , Indicative

"If you heat ice, it melts" / "Se scaldi il ghiaccio, si scioglie"


It refers to a possibile situation and on its probably consequences:

If + Simple present , Simple future

In italian:

Se + Indicative , Simple future

"If you don't hurry, you will miss the train" / "Se non ti sbrighi, perderai il treno"


It refers to a unreal situation:

If + Simple past , Would + Infinitive

In Italian:

Se + Imperfect Subjunctive (example: Se mangiaSSi, Se aveSSi)
In italian we say the "Three S rule": if you use "Se" (If) you have to put two S in the verb (feature of the Imperfect Subjunctive) , Present Conditional

"If it rained, you would get wet" / "Se piovesse, ti bagneresti"


It refers to a situation in the past that did not happen:

If + Past Perfect , Would have + Past Participle

In Italian:

Se + Pluperfect Subjunctive (example: Se aveSSi mangiato, Se aveSSi avuto) , Past Conditional

"If you had studied harder, you would have passed the exam" / "Se tu avessi studiato di piĆ¹, avresti passato l'esame"

August 10, 2015


Thanks for the explanation, IvanSab! It's very helpful!

August 11, 2015

Thanks Nancy! :)

August 11, 2015

Very helpful IvanSab. Thank you. If this is taken from the Italian phrase "il periodo ipotetico" then I would suggest you call it "the hypothetical sentence" in English.

August 13, 2015

Oh, I will correct it immediately, thank you Jeffrey :)

August 13, 2015

I love your "three S" rule-- that's brilliant, and exactly the kind of thing that I want to learn and remember.

For your English sentence: "It refers to a possibile situation and on its probably consequences", you have a spelling mistake and the last part is not quite correct (although I understand what you mean).
I would use this:

It refers to a possible situation and its probable consequences

Other than that, nicely done!
Very useful.

April 30, 2017

I assume you mean hypothetical and not hypotetical?

August 10, 2015


August 10, 2015
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