Spanish Conditional Tense - el Condicional (Conjugation and Usage)
Written by tutor Vanessa K.
The conditional is one of the simplest, easiest Spanish verb forms. :) There is only one set of endings and most verbs - even those which are irregular in the present tense - use their infinitive as the root of the conjugation.
How do we form the conditional?
To form the conditional of -AR, -ER, and -IR verbs, add the following endings to the infinitive:
|1st person||yo -ía||nosotros -íamos|
|2nd person||tú -ías||vosotros -íais|
He would sing – El cantaría
I would eat – Yo comería
We would write – Nosotros escribiríamos
Irregular verbs in the conditional tense:
Some verbs have irregular conditional stems, but they still add the same endings as regular verbs.
|Verb||Conditional stem||Similar verbs|
|poner||pondr-||-d- in place of the –e- or –i-: salir, tener, valer, venir|
|haber||habr-||-lose the infinitive vowel –e-: caber, poder, querer, saber|
|oír||oir-||Lose the accent: reir, sonreir|
We use the conditional tense for actions that are not guaranteed to occur, in hypotheses, or statements about what would happen, that’s why it is translated as would/could in English.
1. Talking about expectations: Past tense + conditional.
Often with common expressions such as pensar que, creer que, prometer que...
Examples: Marta dijo que vendría - Marta said she would come.
Yo pensaba que viajaríamos hoy - I thought we would travel today.
2. Probability in the past
Examples: Serían las diez - It was probably ten o'clock.
El vendría a eso de las 2 de la mañana – He would come at about two in the morning.
3. Polite requests, suggestions or refusals
Examples: ¿Podría ayudarme?- Could you help me?
Querríamos dos refrescos por favor - We would like two drinks please.
Lo siento pero no le aceptaría la invitación – I am sorry but I couldn’t accept the invitation
4. Si (if, then) clauses- conditional is also used in the second type of if clauses to express unlikely situations: (imperfect subjunctive + conditional)
Example: Si fueras con nosotros, podrías visitar a tu abuela - If you went with us, you could visit your grandmother.
Conditional Tense Quiz
Complete each sentence with the correct conditional form of the verb in parentheses
The correct answer is tendrías.
The correct answer is querría.
The correct answer is iríamos.
The correct answer is daría.