Conditional Tense (el condicional)

Regular Forms

The conditional tense is formed by adding the endings below to the infinitive form.

Infinitive +
hablar comer vivir
yo hablaría comería viviría
hablarías comerías vivirías
él/ella/Ud. hablaría comería viviría
nosotros/as hablaríamos comeríamos viviríamos
vosotros/as hablaríais comeríais viviríais
ellos/ellas/Uds. hablarían comerían vivirían

Irregular Forms

Verbs with an irregular root, but with the same ending as the regular form. The verbs that are irregular in the future tense, are the same verbs that are irregular in the conditional.

Infinitive Irregular Root
caber cabr-
decir dir-
haber habr-
hacer har-
poder podr-
poner pondr-
querer querr-
saber sabr-
salir saldr-
tener tendr-
Irregular Root +

Note that all verbs that are built from a verb with an irregular root (the ones in the chart above) will maintain that irregularity:

Uses of the Conditional

The Spanish conditional tense has four basic functions, but we will be focused on the first two:

  1. Expressing courtesy
  2. Hypothetical situations
  3. Expressing future in the past
  4. Expressing probability in the past
  1. The Spanish conditional tense works very much like the English conditional tense. First, we use it to soften requests in order to be polite.
    ¿Puedes ayudarme?
    Can you help me?
    ¿Podrías ayudarme?
    Could you help me?
    ¿Me harás un favor?
    Will you do me a favor?
    ¿Me harías un favor?
    Would you do me a favor?
  2. As in English, the Spanish conditional tense is used to express what would happen in a given (usually hypothetical) situation.
    ¿Qué harías tú en esa situación?
    What would you do in that situation?
    Si tuviera* un millón de dólares, viajaría alrededor del mundo.
    If I had a million dollars, I would travel around the world.

*Don’t worry about the first part of this sentence right now. We will learn the imperfect subjunctive in the next unit. For now, just focus on the use of the conditional.

If you are interested in reading about the other two uses of the conditional in Spanish, check out StudySpanish.

If you are still unclear about the conditional, there are more tutorials and examples of the two functions in focus for this unit in Acceso Hub: Forma y Función (LingroLearning). However, when you start practicing in Acceso Hub: Forma y Función (LingroLearning), it should become clear.