Spanish Conditional Tense – Conjugation and Uses

The Spanish Conditional tense (“Condicional”) is a used to talk about hypothetical situations. Also, sometimes, to express a request or a wish in a polite way.

First we will study its conjugation, and then talk about its uses.

 

Conjugation – Regular Verbs

The conjugation of Regular Verbs in Conditional tense is pretty easy, because of 2 reasons:

  • It doesn’t matter if the verb ends in “-ar”, “-er”, “-ir”. The conjugation is the same regardless.
  • The verb will be conjugated using the whole Infinitive + the proper suffix for each person. You don’t need to cut the verb before adding the suffix, like you do in most other tenses.

The suffixes you need to add to the infinitive to form the Conditional are these:

PersonSuffix
yo-ía
-ías
él-ía
nosotros-íamos
vosotros-íais
ellos-ían

 

For example, here are the full conjugations for “amar”, “ser” and “sentir”:

 AmarSerSentir
yoamaríaseríasentiría
amaríasseríassentirías
élamaríaseríasentiría
nosotrosamaríamosseríamossentiríamos
vosotrosamaríaisseríaissentiríais
ellosamaríanseríansentirían

 

 

Conjugation – Irregular Verbs

For the irregular verbs, the suffixes are the same as for the regulars, it’s the stem that presents some slight change. 

Here is a list of the most important irregulars:

New stemFull conjugation
Decirdir-diría, dirías, diría, diríamos, diríais, dirían
Haberhabr-habría, habrías, habría, habríamos, habríais, habrían
Hacerhar-haría, harías, haría, haríamos, haríais, harían
Poderpodr-podría, podrías, podría, podríamos, podríais, podrían
Ponerpondr-pondría, pondrías, pondría, pondríamos, pondríais, pondrían
Quererquerr-querría, querrías, querría, querríamos, querríais, querrían
Sabersabr-sabría, sabrías, sabría, sabríamos, sabríais, sabrían
Salirsaldr-saldría, saldrías, saldría, saldríamos, saldríais, saldrían
Tenertendr-tendría, tendrías, tendría, tendríamos, tendríais, tendrían
Venirvendr-vendría, vendrías, vendría, vendríamos, vendríais, vendrían

 

 

The Relationship between the Conditional tense and the Simple Future tense

The Future tense and the Conditional tense have very similar conjugations. Click here to read about the Simple Future tense.

As we explained, in Conditional tense, Regular Verbs are conjugated adding a suffix to the infinitive. That happens also in the Simple Future tense. 

And if a verb is Irregular in Conditional tense, that means it is also Irregular in
Simple Future tense
(and viceversa), and the stem changes are exactly the same.

We invite you to take some minutes to compare them and observe how similar they are.




Uses of the Conditional Tense

Use 1: Expressing Consequences of hypothetical situations 

We use the Conditional tense to express the consequences (what WOULD occur), if something else happened.

We have written the word WOULD in capital letters because that is a good trick for English speakers. Almost every time we say “would” in English, that will translate to Spanish conjugating as Conditional tense.

For instance, look at this sentence in English:

– If Peter comes, we will play with him.

That is a sentence that expresses a hypothesis, but we don’t have the word “would” in English. In that case, we won’t use the Conditional anywhere.

However, in this other sentence…

If Peter came, we WOULD PLAY with him. = Si Pedro viniera, JUGARÍAMOS con él.

There it is! Now, “would play” will translate as “jugaríamos”, Conditional for the verb “jugar”.

More examples:

If you studied harder, you would pass the exam. = Si estudiases más, aprobarías el examen.

I would like to have a nice house. = Me gustaría tener una bonita casa.

I would buy this jacket if i had more money. = Compraría esta chaqueta si tuviera más dinero.

 

The English words “could” and “should” also tend to translate to Conditional tense in Spanish.

 English "could"English "should"
yopodríadebería
podríasdeberías
élpodríadebería
nosotrospodríamosdeberíamos
vosotrospodríaisdeberíais
ellospodríandeberían

Examples:

If I had my tools, I could fix the radio. = Si tuviera mis herramientas, podría arreglar la radio.

You should see this. = Deberías ver esto.

 

Use 2: A request or a wish in a polite way.

Sometimes we use the conditional tense to express a request or wish in a polite way. Again, in English we use the words “would, could, should” for this too, so it all makes sense.

Could you bring me the menu, please? = Podría traerme la carta, por favor

De primer plato, querría una sopa de tomate. = For the first course, I would like a tomato soup.

I would like to see that watch, please. = Me gustaría ver ese reloj, por favor.

 

 

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