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7.4: El tiempo condicional

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    • Recognize and understand the conditional tense

    The conditional tense in Spanish, like the future tense, adds the endings right onto the verb’s full infinitive. The endings are actually the same as the -ER/-IR verb endings for the imperfect past tense: -ía, -ías, -ía, -íamos, -íais, -ían. And the irregular forms in the conditional tense are the same as the irregular forms that you learned for the future tense.

    Conjugation of the regular conditional tense

    Play Audiocontaminar Play Audioproteger Play Audiodestruir
    Play Audiocontaminaría Play Audioprotegería Play Audiodestruiría
    Play Audiocontaminarías Play Audioprotegerías Play Audiodestruirías
    Play Audiocontaminaría Play Audioprotegería Play Audiodestruiría
    Play Audiocontaminarías Play Audioprotegeríamos Play Audiodestruiríamos
    Play Audiocontaminaríais Play Audioprotegeríais Play Audiodestruirías
    Play Audiocontaminarían Play Audioprotegerían Play Audiodestruirían

    Irregular conditional: vowel > d

    Play Audioponer Play Audiotener Play Audiosalir
    Play Audiopondría Play Audiotendría Play Audiosaldría
    Play Audiopondrías Play Audiotendrías Play Audiosaldrías
    Play Audiopondría Play Audiotendría Play Audiosaldría
    Play Audiopondríamos Play Audiotendríamos Play Audiosaldríamos
    Play Audiopondríais Play Audiotendríais Play Audiosaldrías
    Play Audiopondrían Play Audiotendrían Play Audiosaldrían

    Irregular conditional: “e” disappears

    Play Audiohaber Play Audiocaber Play Audioquerer
    Play Audiohabría Play Audiocabría Play Audioquerría
    Play Audiohabría Play Audiocabrías Play Audioquerrías
    Play Audiohabría Play Audiocabría Play Audioquerría
    Play Audiohabríamos Play Audiocabríamos Play Audioquerríamos
    Play Audiohabríais Play Audiocabríais Play Audioquerríais
    Play Audiohabrían Play Audiocabrían Play Audioquerrían

    Irregular conditional: “c” disappears

    Play Audiodecir Play Audiohacer
    Play Audiodiría Play Audioharía
    Play Audiodirías Play Audioharías
    Play Audiodiría Play Audioharía
    Play Audiodiríamos Play Audioharíamos
    Play Audiodiríais Play Audioharíais
    Play Audiodirían Play Audioharían

    The conditional tense is translated to English as “would” and is used to express hypothetical actions. For now, be sure to just use it in simple one-verb sentences (e.g. “In that case, I would say yes”), because when the conditional is used in complex hypothetical sentences (e.g. “If you asked me, I would say yes”) the conditional pairs with a verb tense that we haven’t learned yet.

    • Play Audio¿Qué súperpoder querrías tener? (What superpower would you want to have?)
    • Play AudioYo sacaría toda la basura y contaminación de los océanos. (I would remove all the garbage and pollution from the oceans.)
    • Play AudioCon suficiente voluntad y disciplina podríamos cambiar muchos de nuestros malos hábitos y mejorar el medio ambiente. (With enough determination and discipline we would be able to change a lot of our bad habits and improve the environment.)

    ¡OJO! Not all uses of “would” are the same:

    Habitual past action: translate with imperfect past tense.

    • Play AudioCuando éramos jóvenes tirábamos a la basura los platos y utensilios de plástico después de usarlos una sola vez. (When we were younger we would throw out plastic plates and utensils after using them just once.)

    Hypothetical or contrary-to-fact action: translate with conditional tense.

    • Play AudioAl usar platos o utensilios de plástico ahora, los volveríamos a usar y finalmente los tiraríamos en el reciclaje. (When using plastic plates or utensils now, we would reuse them and eventually we would throw them in the recycling.)

    Conditional of probability

    Remember that the future tense can be used to speculate about circumstances in the present? Similarly, the conditional can be used to speculate about circumstances in the past.

    • Play AudioLas personas que inventaron el motor de combustión interna, ¿entenderían las consecuencias ambientales de su invención? (Do you think the people who invented the internal combustion engine understood the environmental consequences of their invention?)
    • Play AudioLas generaciones anteriores pensarían que el mundo era suficientemente grande como para absorber todas las emisiones. (Previous generations probably thought that the world was big enough to absorb all the emissions.)


    7.4: El tiempo condicional is shared under a CC BY-NC license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.