El condicional – the conditional mood

The conditional tense in Spanish is used to talk about hypothetical situations and actions that depend on something else (‘would’, ‘could’, ‘should’). It is also used to make polite requests.

infinitive + -ar, -er, -ir
yo -ía
usted, él/ella -ía
nosotros/as -íamos
vosotros/as -íais
ustedes, ellos/ellas -ían
Originally formed from infinitive + suffix from haber imperfect tense (había, habías, había, habíamos, habíais, habían); e.g., comer-ía, comer-ías, etc. (similar to the way the Future tense was formed).

The endings are identical to the Imperfect for -er and -ir verbs, including haber.

Probable or hypothetical uses (including ‘future in the past’):

Sería las tres – It was probably three o’clock

Juan dijo que vendría – Juan said he would come

Si tuviera suficiente dinero, iría a España – If I had enough money, I would go to Spain

Si yo fuera usted, vería a un médico – If I were you I would see a doctor

Polite requests:

Podría decirme si ... – Could/would you tell me if ...

Querríamos un coche – We would like a car

Me gustaría verlo – I should like to see it

¿Podrías pasar la sal? / ¿Pasarías la sal? – Would you pass the salt?

There are 12 ‘common’ irregular stems (those that are not the infinitive); these are the same for the Future tense:

infinitive stem  
 caber  cabr  to fit/be possible 
 decir  dir  to say
 haber  habr  to have
 hacer  har  to do/make
 poder  podr  to be able to 
 poner  pondr   to put
 querer   querr   to want
 saber  sabr  to know
 salir  saldr  to leave
 tener  tendr  to have
 valer  valdr  to be worth, cost 
 venir  vendr  to come

There are other similar or compound irregular stems, e.g., mantener/mantendr...

Conditional was last edited on 2020-09-07  
Topic: Spanish