Spanish Conditional Tense – Conjugation and Use

Spanish Conditional Tense

The Spanish Conditional tense (“Condicional”) is mainly used to talk about what WOULD happen in hypothetical situations.

We humans like to talk about what would happen in hypothetical situations. Me personally, sometimes I imagine what WOULD happen if I won the lottery, or if I was more handsome. So I like this tense a lot.

In this post we will learn all about the Spanish Conditional Tense, going through the following points:


1. Conjugation in Spanish Conditional

Regular Verbs

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

  • It doesn’t matter if the verb’s infinitive ends in “-AR”, “-ER” or “-IR”. The endings are the same for all types!
  • We attach the endings directly at the end of the verb’s Infinitive form.


The endings are the ones presented in this table:

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

For example, here are the full conjugations of the verbs “amar”, “ser” and “sentir” in Conditional Tense:

 AmarSerSentir
yoamaríaseríasentiría
amaríasseríassentirías
élamaríaseríasentiría
nosotrosamaríamosseríamossentiríamos
vosotrosamaríaisseríaissentiríais
ellosamaríanseríansentirían

Irregular Verbs

For verbs that happen to be irregular in Conditional Tense, the endings are the same as for the regulars, but the stem presents some small change.

Here is a list of the most important Irregulars. In the middle column we can see the irregular stem we need to use in Conditional tense, and in the right column the verb fully conjugated by adding the suffixes:

VerbNew 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

Similarities in conjugation between the Conditional Tense and the Future Tense

The Conditional and Future Tenses have very similar conjugations. Click here to read about the Future Tense.

Actually, except for the endings, everything else is the same for these two tenses: they have exactly the same irregular verbs (and irregular stems), etc. We invite you to take some time to compare them and observe how similar they are. That way you can learn two tenses for the price of one! 🙂


2. Uses of the Spanish Conditional

In general, it is a good idea to relate the Spanish Conditional to the English word “would”. Most of the times (though not always), expressions with the word “would” translate to Spanish in Conditional tense.

Let’s see in detail some of the most frequent uses of the Conditional tense:

Expressing Consequences of hypothetical situations 

We use the Conditional tense to express the hypothetical consequences (what WOULD happen), if a certain hypothetical condition was fulfilled.

Read the following example sentences. The hypothetical condition is highlighted in green, and the verb in Conditional Tense in black:

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

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

Si ganáramos la lotería, viajaríamos por todo el mundo.
If we won the lottery, we would travel all over the world.

Te defenderían si alguien te atacara.
They would defend you if someone attacked you.

Notice this!

We only use the Conditional Tense for the part of the sentence that expresses what WOULD happen under a hypothetical condition, not for the condition itself.

For the condition itself (the green part in the sentences above) we use another tense called Imperfect Subjunctive.


For English words “could” and “should”

Here’s how we say “could” and “should” in Spanish for each person:

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

Example sentences:

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

Deberías ver esto.
You should see this.

¿Podríais repetirlo?
Could you guys repeat it?

Marta no debería quejarse tanto.
Marta shouldn’t complain so much.


Expressing a wish or a request

Sometimes we use the conditional tense to express a wish request or wish in a polite way.

Example sentences:

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

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

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


3. Practice: A Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about the Spanish Conditional:


4. Practice: An Exercise

What would you do if you won the lottery? Fill the gaps in your mind or on a piece of paper using the Conditional Tense for the question and for the responses, and check the solutions at the end of this post.

¿Qué ____ 1.(hacer, tú) si ganases la lotería?

______ 2.(tener) una casita en la playa.
______ 3.(viajar) alrededor del mundo.
No _____ 4.(decir) a nadie que he ganado la lotería
Por supuesto, _____ 5.(comprar) varios coches de lujo.
No _____ 6.(hacer) nunca las tareas del hogar.
_____ 7.(salir) todas las noches y _____ 8.(dormir) de día.

Solutions to the Exercise: 1 = harías, 2 = tendría, 3 = viajaría, 4 = diría, 5 = compraría, 6 = haría, 7 = saldría, 8 = dormiría