Describe your behavior in hypothetical situations

Moral values

Values have existed since human began to live in community; they had to establish principles to guide their behavior towards others. In this sense typical values such as honesty, responsibility, truth, solidarity, cooperation, tolerance and respect, are considered universal moral values.

What is a value? It is a belief, principle, or standard that influences your behavior. All people have their own beliefs, for example some people believe a lot in the unity of the family and in familiar traditions. Your beliefs, values and principles help you define who you are. The experiences you have had throughout the course of your life contribute how you view the world. Your family and school have given you some values that help you to live in a community.

Your personal values are the principles and standards you use to make decisions in your current life. By identifying your most important values, you will make better life decisions according to your way of thinking and feeling.

Your choices impact every aspect of your life including personal and interactions with the members of your community. Before making a decision it’s important that you collect information and evaluate the way they could impact you.

As you can see moral values are standards of behavior that help you to realize what is the most important in your life, and what to do in specific circumstances.

Adjectives to describe personal behavior in relation to moral values

An adjective is a word that describes a noun, qualifying or giving more information about the noun.


  • The boy is obedient.
  • The man is kind.

You can use adjectives to describe your personal attitude and behavior in relation to moral values. Look at the following example:

The doctor is respectful of the people.

Respect is a moral value, and respectful is an adjective that describes the way the doctor works.

An attitude is your opinion or feeling about something, especially as shown by your behavior. What qualities are important to you, or what qualities you admire in yourself and others?

These are some examples of adjectives to describe attitude and your personal behavior related to moral values:

  • Fair: to treated equally and in a reasonable way to everyone.
  • Faithful: being loyal to someone or something and can be trusted.
  • Honest: not telling lies.
  • Just: treating people morally right.
  • Loyal: someone who is faithful and stands by you.
  • Responsible: in charge of someone or something for what they do or what happens to them.
  • Tolerant: accepting someone else´s belief, way of life, and so on.
  • Trustworthy: someone you can trust.


Modals or modal verbs are auxiliaries that help the main verb to express attitudes, suggestions and opinions.

You give suggestions or advice to people when they have problems or they don´t know what to do in a moral dilemma.

Modals can be used to express that you think something is a possible, probable, or that it is a wish, preference or suggestion.

Look at these examples:

  • I should be on time. (advice)
  • I would eat an apple. (preference)
  • You could use a new pencil. (suggestion)
  • I might wash the dishes. (strong grade of possibility)
  • It might rain later. (probability or Possibility)
  • I would be a hero!. (wish)

In block I you will learn to use the following modals to express attitudes:

Modals are followed by the infinitive of another verb without “to”:

Modals are followed by the infinitive of another verb without “to”:

Uses and examples:

You use should to give advice or suggestions. You give advice or strong suggestions to someone in a specific circumstance or a moral dilemma. Notice that an advice or suggestions are not orders. For orders we use must or have to. Look at the example.

The following pictures show you the affirmative, negative and question forms of should.

You use could to say that something is possible in the future.

Look at the example:

The following pictures show you the affirmative, negative and interrogative forms of could.

You use might to show possibility or probability in the present and in the future. There isn’t strong degree of certainty about the situation happen.

Look at the examples:

Look at the following examples using might:

You use would to express preferences, or wishes (in the future).

In a real situation:

I would go to cinema after lunch.

In a hypothetical situation: not a real situation, imagined as example.

I would be an astronaut and I would travel to the Moon.

Look at the following examples using would:

Second Conditional

The following sentences talk about “conditions” and “results”.

  • If I had a calculator, I would do this Math homework.
  • If I worked less, I would have more free time.
  • If I had some money, I would buy a laptop.

Look at the “If-clauses”, they are improbable conditions:

Look at the structure. You form the second conditional with:

If I had some money, I would buy a laptop.

Forms of the second conditional:

It is very important you realize that there is a comma (,) between if-clause and result-clause:

Contracted forms of would

In spoken English you will find that would is often contracted. Look at the example:

Affirmative form:

  • If Fred studied hard, he would become a good doctor.
  • Contracted form: If Fred studied hard, he´d become a good doctor

Negative form:

  • he would not
  • Contracted form: he wouldn’t

Using could or might in second conditional

Until now, you are using would in the “result-clause”, but it can be replaced by could or might to express possibility.

Look the example:


  • If all of you came to our party, we would have a great party time.

Replacing would for could. It expresses the possibility of having a great time:

  • If all of you came to our party, we could have a great party time.


  • If it was a cloudy day, it would be raining.

Replacing would for might. It expresses the possibility of raining if the day was cloudy.

  • If it was a cloudy day, it might be raining.

Even if and unless with second conditional

Even if emphasizes that something would happen, no matter what “if-clause” states or express.


  • Even if we worked hard, we couldn´t finish the work on time.

Unless states condition that it is an exception.


  • Unless she hurried up, she wouldn´t be on time.


Connectors are auxiliaries that help to connect or contrast two ideas; they are words used to join sentences.

Look at the uses and some examples of sentences with connectors:

  • Use and to add information:
    I like rock and pop music.
  • Use because to express reason:
    We drank water because we were thirsty.
  • Use but to contrast ideas:
    He watched the soccer game, but he didn´t play it.
  • Use so to show a consequence:
    The group´s singer got flu so the concert will be canceled.

Fuente: Secretaría de Educación Pública. (2015). Lengua adicional al español IV. Ciudad de México.