Conditional

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The conditional tense states what would happen or would not happen at some time later than a particular moment in the past. It also is often used to make hypothethical or contrary-to-fact statements.

The conditional tense has 5 distinct forms that agree with the subect in person and in number. The five forms consist of the verb stem plus one of 5 distinct suffixes.

Conditional suffixes
 Verb Class
NumberPersonSubject Pronouns-ar-er-ir
SingularFirstyo-aría-ería-iría
Secondtú (vos: see Note)-arías-erías-irías
Thirdél, ella, ello, usted-aría-ería-iría
PluralFirstnosotros, nosotras-aríamos-eríamos-iríamos
Secondvosotros, vosotras-aríais-eríais-iríais
Thirdellos, ellas, ustedes-arían-erían-irían

Note: In general, vos verb forms are identical to verb forms in the conditional.

Many textbooks and teaching materials prefer to analyse the conditional tense as using the infinitive form as the stem and adding one set of endings to it. (-ía, -ías, -ía, -íamos, -íais, -ían)

Here are examples of regular conditional tense verbs for each verb class.

Conditional example verbs
 Verb Class
 -ar-er-ir
 hablarcomervivirverb
NumberPersonSubject Pronounshabl-com-viv-stem
SingularFirstyohablaríacomeríaviviría
Secondtú (vos: see Note)hablaríascomeríasvivirías
Thirdél, ella, ello, ustedhablaríacomeríaviviría
PluralFirstnosotros, nosotrashablaríamoscomeríamosviviríamos
Secondvosotros, vosotrashablaríaiscomeríaisviviríais
Thirdellos, ellas, ustedeshablaríancomeríanvivirían

Irregular verbs

12 basic common verbs are irregular in the conditional tense, and some of the compounds of those verbs are also irregular in the same way.

There are 3 types of irregular verbs in the conditional tense.

  • Group 1 contains 5 -er verbs whose endings drop the first 'e' of the ending (or drop the 'e' of the infinitive ending): caber, haber, poder, querer, saber. For example: cabría, habría, podría, querría, sabría.
  • Group 2 contains 5 -er and -ir verbs whose endings replace the first 'e' or 'i' of the ending with 'd' (or replace the 'e' or 'i' of the infinitive ending with 'd'): poner, salir, tener, valer, venir. For example: pondría, saldría, tendría, valdría, vendría.
  • Group 3 contains 2 verbs that that use a shortened infinitive stem: decir (reduced infinitive stem dir-) and hacer (reduced infinitive stem har-). For example: diría, haría.

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