Newsletter Activity 6: the conditional

This blog post is looking at some of the different uses of the conditional.

Forming the conditional is quite straightforward as the endings are the same for -AR, -IR and -ER verbs and you add the endings directly onto the infinitive. The endings are as follows:

  • ía          > empezaría               recibiría              volvería
  • ías        > empezarías             recibirías            volverías
  • ía          > empezaría               recibiría              volvería
  • íamos  > empezaríamos      recibiríamos      volveríamos
  • íais       > empezaríais           recibiríais           volveríais
  • ían        > empezarían           recibirían            volverían

You may notice that these are the same as the -ER and -IR endings in the imperfect tense. It is important to remember that some irregular verbs have a different stem in the conditional (and future) form (i.e not the infinitive like most verbs) but the endings remain the same. Some of the most common verbs with irregular stems in the conditional are listed below.

  • decir > dir-
  • haber > habr-
  • hacer > har-
  • poder > podr-
  • poner > pondr-
  • querer > querr-
  • saber > sabr-
  • salir > saldr-
  • tener > tend-
  • venir > vendr-

The conditional can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used to express possibility and talk about hypothetical situations:

  • Pensé que llegaríamos a tiempo

It can express a wish or desire:

  • Me gustaría vivir en España
  • Me encantaría estar de vacaciones

You can also use the conditional to make polite requests:

  • ¿Podría decirme la hora por favor?

Can you think of any other situations when you would use the conditional? Try and write a sentence or two of your own using the conditional. If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge, try building a sentence around a si clause. ¡Nos gustaría ver vuestros comentarios!

8 thoughts on “Newsletter Activity 6: the conditional”

  1. ¡Me gustaría estar en la semana proxima de vacaciones en las islas canarias! Mi marido y yo decidemos que iríamos de vacaciones alli y pensé que podría practicar mi español:) Si habia tenido mas tiempo habería poder amejojar mi nivel antes de que fuéramos de vacaciones.Si haceria mas ejercicios como esto sobre el condicional mi español seria mucho mejor.Si no habia apprendido con CBS no podría escribir este comentario en español!¡Si no cometería muchos errores estaría muy contenta!

  2. Well done and thank you Ruus Smid for these sentences which make me realize some of my mistakes!I think I should have written’habria’ y ‘hiciera’, no? (irregular verbs which were in the examples,so no excuse!)and I also forgot the subjonctive in the ‘si’ clause so it probably should have been ‘hubiera’ y ‘cometiera’? Habria volver a aprender los verbos irregulares y el subjonctivo!

  3. First of all thank you all for your comments and congratulations! Just a few things to point out:

    @Michele, well done for correcting yourself. In your second comment you end up with a sentence: “Habría volver a aprender…”, in this phrase you should use what is called a “perífrasis verbal de obligación” and it´s “tener que + infinitive”. This particular perífrasis verbal is constantly used in Spanish to express obligation or necessity. So, in this case, the sentence would be: “Tendría que volver a aprender…”.

    @Miwa, you don´t need to start your sentence with “Me”, just “Conseguiría…”. In the second bit, remember that the verb that you need to use there should be in the imperfect subjunctive which would be “entrenase”.

    @Tracey welcome! Your example is great! Just a few things worth pointing out: remember the accent on the ending of the conditional form (estaría). As we said to Miwa, the “si” clause is followed by the imperfect subjunctive here so it should be: “si estudiase”. One other thing: languages in Spanish are not capitalised (español, inglés etc.) neither are words like days or any other common nouns (días).

    Thanks a lot for your comments! Keep participating and being part of Coffee Break Spanish, we love hearing from you! ¡Hasta la próxima, amigos!


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