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I was reading some grammar guides on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd conditional, and here's what the guides say in general:

first conditional: real situations in the present or in the future.
ie: If I sleep too much, I'll get a headache.

second conditional: unreal situations in the present or in the future.
ie: If I slept too much, I would get a headache.

third conditional: unreal situations in the past.
ie: If I had slept too much, I would've gotten a headache.

I'm just wondering why can't "if I slept too much" simply assume events in the past, so we won't need 3rd con. anymore? Thanks.
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The third conditional is contrafactual. It says If I had slept too much (AND I didn't sleep too much), I would have gotten a headache (BUT I didn't get a headache). So you can't get rid of the third conditional by reassigning its meaning to the second conditional. Besides, no one person invents what words and expressions mean, so if you wanted to change what the second conditional meant, you'd be the only one using it in your new way, and nobody else would understand what you were saying! Emotion: smile

CJ
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Thanks CJ! Emotion: smile