The second conditional in English is the way people usually express a wish or something they would like and imagine it indicating what they “would” do in case of its realization. For example:
I wish I had a dog / I would like to have a dog
If I had a dog, I would go for a walk every day
So as you can see the construction is IF + Simple past to speak about the wish, then in the second part of the sentence WOULD + Infinitive (without “to” as with any modals) to explain what would theoretically happen.
It’s also possible to invert the position of the sentences, for instance:
I would travel around the world, if I won the lottery!
I found an interesting article in which you can find a second conditional, here’s an extract :
Two islands in the Bering Straits, one Russian, one American, are barely two miles apart. Only a few military observation posts remain on the Russian island, but a community of Eskimos lives on the US island. After the Cold War they hoped to resume regular contact with Russian relatives – but now the chances seem to be fading again.
The people of this Bering Strait region still see themselves as one people and the border as an irritant. It was first drawn up in 1867 when America bought Alaska from a cash-strapped Tsarist Russia. But no-one took much notice then. Families lived on both islands and criss-crossed back and forth until 1948 when the border was suddenly closed. The Soviet military moved on to Big Diomede and the civilians were forcibly resettled on the Siberian mainland.
“If we could get reunification going, it would bring a lot to our peace of minds here,” says Ozenna. “But I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
All of the 80 people who live on this remote island have relations somewhere in Russia. A quarter of a century ago, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, there was a glimmer of hope that they would be able to meet again. Robert Soolook, another Diomede tribal leader, took part in an expedition that travelled through the Siberian east-coast province of Chukotka looking for lost relatives.
“By skis and dog sled we covered 20-25 miles a day and went to 16 villages,” he remembers. “I found relatives on my mother’s side in three villages, and her favourite cousin – Luda – she was in Uelen. It was very special. I was with family again.”
And what’s your wish? What would you do if…..