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Spanish conditional tense

How to Use and Form the Spanish Conditional Tense

Have you ever wondered why is the Spanish conditional tense important? Well, first of all, if it wasn’t for the conditional tense, Spanish speakers wouldn’t know how to express probabilities or hypothetical situations.

Besides, with the conditional in Spanish, we can make polite requests. This one sounds kind of interesting, right?

Nonetheless, in this post, you will learn what types of conditional in Spanish exist, as well as how to conjugate the verbs and how to form a sentence in the conditional tense Spanish.

Unlike other articles, here you will find plenty of examples with audio to help you better understand the concept of the Spanish conditional tense and to practice your listening skills.

Spanish Conditional Tense

This tense mainly corresponds to would, could, should, probably, must have been, would be doing, or would have been in English.

You will often hear that the Spanish conditional tense is also known as simple conditional (condicional simple in Spanish). However, as always happens with grammar, things are not that “simple”.

So, there are three conditional tenses in Spanish:

  • Simple
  • Progressive
  • Perfect

Let’s see what each of these verb tenses is for.

Simple Conditional Tense

The simple conditional tense is the easiest Spanish conditional tense to learn. Mostly because, in contrast to other Spanish tenses, the conjugations are very simple. It is used a lot like in English, with a few exceptions.

We use the simple conditional tense in Spanish to express something we would like to do in the future if we had the opportunity, or we want to advise someone, and so on.

In English, we translate it as would, could, should, probably, and must have been.

How To Form The Simple Conditional Tense

Regular Verbs

There is a very simple rule regarding regular verb conjugation. The only thing you need to know in conditional tense Spanish is the endings, which are the same for all of them. Just add the following endings to the infinitive form of the verb. Easy, right? We will show you how we form it in the table below.

Abbreviation: Subject pronoun (SUBJ. PRON.).

Subj. Pron.Endings
Yo
-ía
-ías
Él/ella/Ud.
-ía
Nosotros/as
-íamos
Vosotros/as
-íais
Ellos/as/Uds.
-ían

Examples

Subj. Pron.CaminarComerVivir
Yo
Caminaría
Comería
Viviría
Caminarías
Comerías
Vivirías
Él/ella/Ud.
Caminaría
Comería
Viviría
Nosotros/as
Caminaríamos
Comeríamos
Viviríamos
Vosotros/as
Caminaríais
Comeríais
Viviríais
Ellos/as/Uds.
Caminarían
Comerían
Vivirían

Irregular Verbs

Good news! The same irregular verbs in the simple future tense are also irregular here. So, the stem changes, however, the endings in the conditional tense Spanish are regular.

(Only the yo form is shown in the table).

VerbYo formVerbYo form
CaberCabría
QuererQuerría

DecirDiría
SaberSabría
HaberHabría
SalirSaldría
HacerHaría
TenerTendría
PoderPodría
ValerValdría
PonerPondría
VenirVendría

How To Use the Simple Conditional Tense

Hypothetical Actions or Events

Examples

  • Sería interesante estudiar biología. → It would be interesting to study biology.
  • ¿Irías a España? → Would you go to Spain?

Conjectures about the Past

Examples

  • Estarían en el trabajo cuando llamaste. → They must have been / They were probably at work when you called.
  • No fue a trabajar, estaría enfermo. → He didn’t go to work, he must have been sick / He was probably sick.

The Future from the Perspective of the Past

Examples

  • Me dijo que llegaría tarde. → He told me he would be late.
  • Sabía que la tienda no abriría el fin de semana. → I knew the shop wouldn’t open / wasn’t open on the weekend.

Conditional Sentences

Examples

  • Si tuviera tiempo, te ayudaría. → If I had time, I would help you.
  • Si hubiera entrenado más, ahora estaría en la final. → If I had trained more, I would be in the finals now.

Polite Requests

Examples

  • ¿Podríamos quedarnos en tu casa? → Could we stay at your house?
  • ¿Te importaría si uso el baño? → Would you mind if I use the bathroom?

Invitations

Examples

  • ¿Querrías ir a la fiesta conmigo? → Would you like to go to the party with me?
  • ¿Vendrías al cine con nosotros? → Would you come to the movie theater with us?

Desires

Examples

  • Me encantaría ir a la fiesta contigo. → I would love to go to the party with you.
  • Me gustaría viajar por el mundo. → I would like to travel around the world.

Suggestions and Advice

Examples

  • Deberías ir al médico. → You should go to the doctor.
  • Podrías tomarte unos días libres. → You could take some days off.

Where To Practice The Simple Conditional Tense

Conjugations

Quizzes

Gap Fill Exercises

Oral Practice

Written Practice

Everything

Progressive Conditional Tense

How To Form The Progressive Conditional Tense

Don’t let this one confuse you just because of its pompous name.

One of the uses you will recognize the progressive conditional tense Spanish for is to talk about something that would be happening only if something else were to happen first.

To form the progressive conditional tense in Spanish you need to combine the simple conditional tense of the verb estar and the present participle of the second verb. The present participle corresponds to the -ing form in English.

In English, we translate this Spanish conditional tense as would be doing.

Abbreviations: Subject pronoun (SUBJ. PRON.), conjugations (CONJ.) and present Participle (PR. PPLE.).

The Verb Estar – Simple Conditional Tense

Subj. Pron.Conj.
Yo
Estaría
Estarías
Él/ella/Ud.
Estaría
Nosotros/as
Estaríamos
Vosotros/as
Estaríais
Ellos/as/Uds.
Estarían

Regular Verbs – Present Participle

To form the present participle of regular verbs, add the following endings to the infinitive form of the verb.

Verb EndingPr. Pple.
-ar-ando
-er-iendo
-ir-iendo

Examples

Subj. Pron.CaminarComerVivir
Yo
Estaría caminando
Estaría comiendo
Estaría viviendo
Estarías caminando
Estarías comiendo
Estarías viviendo

Él/ella/Ud.
Estaría caminando
Estaría comiendo
Estaría viviendo
Nosotros/as
Estaríamos caminando
Estaríamos comiendo
Estaríamos viviendo
Vosotros/as
Estaríais caminando
Estaríais comiendo
Estaríais viviendo
Ellos/as/Uds
Estarían caminando
Estarían comiendo
Estarían viviendo

Other Verbs – Present Participle

VerbPr. Pple.
ConstruirConstruyendo
DecirDiciendo
DormirDurmiendo
IrYendo
LeerLeyendo
MorirMuriendo
OírOyendo
PoderPudiendo
ReñirRiñendo
VenirViniendo

Examples

Subj. Pron.DormirLeerVenir
Yo
Estaría durmiendo
Estaría leyendo
Estaría viniendo
Estarías durmiendo
Estarías leyendo

Estarías viniendo
Él/ella/Ud.
Estaría durmiendo
Estaría leyendo
Estaría viniendo
Nosotros/as
Estaríamos durmiendo
Estaríamos leyendo
Estaríamos viniendo
Vosotros/as
Estaríais durmiendo
Estaríais leyendo
Estaríais viniendo
Ellos/as/Uds
Estarían durmiendo
Estarían leyendo
Estarían viniendo

How To Use The Progressive Conditional Tense

The progressive conditional tense in Spanish, as the name suggests, describes an action that would be in progress at a certain point in time. It also emphasizes the course of action.

We mainly use this conditional tense Spanish in the following situations:

The Future from the Perspective of the Past

Examples

  • Mis amigos me dijeron que estarían estudiando español. → My friends told me they would be studying Spanish.
  • Sabía que vosotros estaríais jugando al fútbol. → I knew you all would be playing soccer.

Conjectures about the Past

Examples

  • ¿Dónde estaba tu hermano? Estaría trabajando. → ¿Where was your brother? He was probably working / He must have been working.
  • No fueron a trabajar, estarían estudiando para el examen. → They didn’t go to work, they were probably studying for the test / They must have been studying for the test.

Conditional Sentences

Examples

  • Si tuvieramos tiempo, estaríamos viajando por España. → If we had time, we would be traveling around Spain.
  • Si Pepe estuviera aquí, estaría cantando. → If Pepe was here, he would be singing.

Where To Practice The Progressive Conditional Tense

Gap Fill Exercises

Other

Perfect Conditional Tense

How To Form The Perfect Conditional Tense

This, like the previous one, can be a bit tricky but don’t let this discourage you.

You will mostly use the perfect conditional tense if you want to describe or talk about something that could have happened but did not due to another event that did. But be mindful that it is not the only use of this tense.

We form the perfect conditional in Spanish by combining the simple conditional tense of the verb haber and the past participle of the second verb.

In English, it corresponds to would have done.

Abbreviations: Subject pronoun (SUBJ. PRON.), conjugations (CONJ.) and past participle (PAST PPLE.).

The Verb Haber – Simple Conditional Tense

Subj. Pron.Conj.
Yo
Habría
Habrías
Él/ella/Ud.
Habría
Nosotros/as
Habríamos
Vosotros/as
Habríais

Ellos/as/Uds.
Habrían

Regular Verbs

The past participle of regular verbs is not difficult to form. We do it by dropping the infinitive ending and adding the following endings.

Verb EndingPast Pple.
-ar-ado
-er-ido
-ir-ido

Examples

Subj. Pron.CaminarComerVivir
Yo
Habría caminado
Habría comido
Habría vivido
Habrías caminado
Habrías comido
Habrías vivido
Él/ella/Ud.
Habría caminado
Habría comido
Habría vivido
Nosotros/as
Habríamos caminado
Habríamos comido
Habríamos vivido
Vosotros/as
Habríais caminado
Habríais comido
Habríais vivido
Ellos/as/Uds.
Habrían caminado
Habrían comido
Habrían vivido

Irregular Verbs

In the table below, you will find the most common irregular verbs in the past participle.

InfinitivePast Pple.
AbrirAbierto
DecirDicho
EscribirEscrito
HacerHecho
VerVisto
VolverVuelto

Examples

Subj. Pron.DecirHacerVolver
Yo
Habría dicho
Habría hecho
Habría vuelto
Habrías dicho
Habrías hecho
Habrías vuelto
Él/ella/Ud.
Habría dicho
Habría hecho
Habrías vuelto
Nosotros/as
Habríamos dicho
Habríamos hecho
Habríamos vuelto
Vosotros/as
Habríais dicho
Habríais hecho
Habríais vuelto
Ellos/as/Uds.
Habrían dicho
Habrían hecho
Habrían vuelto

How To Use The Perfect Conditional Tense

Hypothetical Actions or Events about the Past

  • Yo no habría ido. → I wouldn’t have gone.
  • Juan se habría quedado más tiempo, pero tenía que trabajar. → Juan would have stayed longer, but he had to work.

Conjectures about an Action in the Past that Already Took Place

  • Cuando él llegó al restaurante no tenía hambre, seguramente habría comido antes. → When he arrived at the restaurant he wasn’t hungry, he must have eaten before / He had probably eaten before.
  • No vi a Pepe en la fiesta, me imagino que se habría ido. → I didn’t see Pepe at the party, I imagine he must have left / He had probably left.

Conditional

  • Si hubiera estudiado más, habría aprobado el examen. → If I had studied more, I would have passed the test.
  • Si no hubiéramos ido, no te habríamos visto. → If we hadn’t gone, we wouldn’t have seen you.

Where To Practice The Perfect Conditional Tense

Conjugations

Gap Fill Exercises

Other

Where to Practice All Tenses

Gap Fill Exercises



Final Thoughts

Not so bad, is it? We know it’s a bit longer, but hopefully, this post will help you understand the Spanish conditional tense better.

Don’t hesitate to use the exercises provided in the text. Because practice makes it perfect!

Suggestion: you can also try and make up your own examples with the Spanish conditional tense. Even better if you have a Spanish-speaking friend or anyone who speaks the language to practice it with.

In our online Spanish conversation classes, we do both oral and written exercises. This means you get a chance to put your knowledge of the conditional in Spanish into practice on the spot. What better way to learn?

So, to encourage you to start practicing the conditional tense Spanish, can you answer the questions below? We’re looking forward to reading your comments!

  • ¿Qué idioma habrías estudiado si no hubieras elegido estudiar español?
  • ¿Estarías leyendo este artículo si no quisieras mejorar tu español?
  • ¿Te dijeron alguna vez que estudiar español sería fácil?

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