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The Conditional


In Spanish, the Conditional largely translates into English as would. It is used in 5 main instances:

1. To express a hypothetical situation - usually in if clauses (click here to find out more):

For example: “si tuviera mucho dinero viajaría mucho.”

2. To advise:

For example: “deberías hacer tu trabajo.”

3. To express oneself in a higher register (more politely):

For example: “¿podría ayudarle?”

4. To express past actions and events that were originally expressed in a future tense

For example: "yo sabía que irías a Vigo."

5. For reported speech (click here to find out more):

For example: "Julia dijo que cantaría esa noche"

Formation: Regular verbs

When forming most tenses in Spanish, we remove the -ar, -er or –ir ending of the verb to obtain the stem.

For example: hablar - ar = habl

However, in the Conditional, instead of removing the stem before adding the new endings, the verb's infinitive acts as the stem.


This means that in order to form the Conditional, we only need to add the appropriate verb endings to the infinitive.

For example: I would speak = hablaría (hablar = the infinitve and ís is the I ending), you would eat - comerías (comer = the infinitive and ías is the you ending).

The endings for each person are as follows:

*Notebook: they are the same endings as the er/ir verbs in the Imperfect Tense (but are added to the infinitive instead of replacing it)

Here is an example of each type of regular verb:

Formation: Irregular verbs

Some verbs have an irregular future stem, which is used instead of the infinitive form of the verb.

Below is a list of the 12 common verbs that have an irregular Conditional stem:

  • caber → cabr

  • decir → dir

  • haber → habr

  • hacer → har

  • poder →podr

  • poner → pondr

  • querer → querr

  • saber → sabr

  • salir →saldr

  • tener → tendr

  • valer → valdr

  • venir → vendr

All of the irregular Conditional stems use the same endings as the regular verbs. 

*Notebook: The irregular stems are also the same in the Simple Future.

For example:

Click here to continue to exercises on the Conditional

Published: 18/04/2016

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