Spanish Conditional Tense – The Ultimate Guide

Spanish Conditional

Welcome to our grammar lesson about the Spanish Conditional Tense.

The Conditional (“El Condicional”) is a verb tense in Spanish. We use it to talk about what would happen in hypothetical situations.

Conjugating verbs in Conditional Tense is very easy: there are few irregular verbs, and even those are pretty simple.

In this lesson we will learn how to conjugate and use verbs in Conditional Tense, providing example sentences.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and Exercises for practice.

1. Conjugation of verbs in Conditional Tense

Regular Verbs

The conjugation of verbs that are regular 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 Infinitive.


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 are irregular in Conditional Tense, the endings are the same as for the regulars, but the stem presents some irregularity.

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

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 between the Conditional Tense and the Future Tense

The Spanish Conditional and Future Tenses have very similar conjugations. Click here to learn the Future Tense.

Except for the endings, everything else is the same in these two tenses: they have the same irregular verbs with the same irregular stems.

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

2. Uses of the Conditional Tense

In general, it is good to associate the idea of the Conditional Tense to the English word “would”. Most times, English sentences with the word “would” translate to Spanish in Conditional tense.

Let’s study the most frequent uses of the Conditional:

Expressing what what WOULD happen if a hypothetical condition was fulfilled

We use the Conditional tense to express what WOULD happen if a hypothetical condition was fulfilled.

Clarification

We only use the Conditional Tense to say what would happen, not for the condition.

For the condition, we use another tense called Imperfect Subjunctive.


Read the following example sentences. The verb in Conditional tense is highlighted in green, and the verb in Imperfect Subjunctive 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.

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

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 tuviéramos las herramientas, podríamos arreglar la radio.
If we had the tools, we could fix the radio.

Deberías ver esto.
You should see this.

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, or a request in a polite way.

Example sentences:

Me gustaría tener una casa bonita.
I would like to have a beautiful 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’d like a tomato soup.

3. A related tense: the Conditional Perfect

The Conditional Perfect is another tense in Spanish, a tense that we use to talk about what could have happened, but didn’t.

Click here to learn the Conditional Perfect.

4. Practice the Spanish Conditional Tense

Quiz

Take this short Quiz about the Spanish Conditional Tense!:

Exercise 1

This exercise is about the first use of the Conditional we have learned in this lesson: talking about what would happen if a hypothetical condition was fulfilled.

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 below:

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

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

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


Exercise 2

This exercise is about the second use of the Conditional we have learned in this lesson: as the Spanish translation of English “could” and “should”.

Fill the gaps in your mind or on a piece of paper using the Conditional Tense. Then check the solutions below:

Tú _______ 1.(could) ganar el partido si entrenaras más.
Nosotros _______ 2.(should) ayudar a mamá a limpiar la casa.
Yo creo que el gobierno _______ 3.(should) gastar menos.
¿Vosotros _______ 4.(could) explicarme el problema?

Solutions: 1 = podrías, 2 = deberíamos, 3 = debería, 4 = podríais