Conditional Tense

The conditional (el condicional ) tense in Spanish is used to express what would happen in the future. It is more of a possibility, or hypothetical situation, than the future tense. The formation is very similar to that of the simple future tense in that one set of endings is added to the infinitive to create a new tense and the irregular stems are the same as those in the future tense.

Compraría esa camisa.
I would buy that shirt.
 
Sacaría la basura por ti.
He would take out the trash for you.
 
Si fuera rico, me gustaría viajar por todo el mundo.
If I were rich, I would travel all over the world.
 

Regular Conditional Forms

To form the conditional tense, simply add the correct ending to the infinitive of the verb. All verb conjugations (-AR, -ER, and -ER) have the same endings for the conditional tense:

Conditional Endings: -ía, -ías, -ía, -íamos, -íais, -ían

Subjectviajarconocerescribir
yo
viajaría
 
conocería
 
escribiría
 
viajarías
 
conocerías
 
escribirías
 
usted, él, ella
viajaría
 
conocería
 
escribiría
 
nosotros
viajaríamos
 
conoceríamos
 
escribiríamos
 
vosotros
viajaríais
 
conoceríais
 
escribiríais
 
ustedes, ellos, ellas
viajarían
 
conocerían
 
escribirían
 

The endings for the conditional tense are the same as those for the -er and -ir forms of the imperfect tense.

Remember that the conditional adds the endings to the infinitive while the imperfect adds them to the stem.

  • Conditional: Escribiría unas cartas. (I would write some letters.)
  • Imperfect: Escribía unas cartas. (I wrote some letters.)

Irregular Conditional Forms

The conditional has relatively few irregular verbs which fall into three distinct categories:

  1. Those that replace the infinitive ending vowel with a -d
  2. Those that simply remove the infinitive ending vowel
  3. Those that are plain irregular

1. Replace infinitive ending vowel with d

Only -ER and -IR verbs fall into this category. To form the stem, simply replace the -e or -i from the infinitive ending with a -d, then add the conditional endings.

Subjecttener (to have)
yotendría
tendrías
usted, él, ellatendría
nosotrostendríamos
vosotrostendríais
ustedes, ellos, ellastendrían

Other Verbs like Tener

InfinitiveConditional Stem
poner
 
pondr-
valer
 
valdr-
salir
 
saldr-
venir
 
vendr-
Usted tendría una casa nueva.
You would have a new house.
 
Valdría mil dólares.
It would be worth $1,000.
 

2. Remove the infinitive vowel

Only -ER verbs fall into this category. To form the stem, remove the vowel from the infinitive ending, then add the conditional endings.

Subjectpoder (to be able to)
yopodría
podrías
usted, él, ellapodría
nosotrospodríamos
vosotrospodrríais
ustedes, ellos, ellaspodrrían

Other Verbs like Poder

InfinitiveConditional Stem
caber
 
cabr-
haber
 
habr-
querer
 
querr-
saber
 
sabr-
¿Podrías pasar el agua?
Would you pass the water?
 
Querría aprender japonés.
I would like to learn Japanese.
 

3. Irregular stems

Some verbs just have irregular stems that must be memorized. Fortunately, there are only two!

Subjectdecir (dir-) (to tell)hacer (har-) (to make/to do)
yodiríaharía
diríasharías
usted, él, elladiríaharía
nosotrosdiríamosharíamos
vosotrosdiríaisharíais
ustedes, ellos, ellasdiríanharían
Diríais el cuento de tu aventura en el caribe.
You would tell your story of your adventure in the Carribbean.
 
Harías el pastel.
You would make the cake.
 

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